Abortion doping

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					Abortion doping
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Abortion doping refers to the rumoured practice of purposefully inducing pregnancy then abortion for athletic performance-
enhancing benefits.

 1 Physical benefits
 2 Allegations
 3 Testing and prevalence
 4 See also
 5 References

Physical benefits
There is little doubt from medical experts that hormonal and other changes in pregnancy affect physical performance. In the
first three months it is known that a woman’s body produces a natural surplus of red blood cells, the type that are rich in
oxygen-carrying haemoglobin, to support the growing fetus.[1] A study of athletes before and after pregnancy by Professor
James Pivarnik at the Human Energy Research laboratory in Michigan State University has found there is a 60 per cent
increase in blood volume and that this could improve the body’s ability to carry oxygen to muscles by up to 30 per cent. [1]
This would have obvious positive effects on aerobic capacity. Other possible advantages derive from the surge in hormones
pregnancy induces — predominantly progesterone and oestrogen, but also testosterone, could increase muscle strength. [1]

Several world records have been set by female athletes shortly after giving birth to their first child. [2][3] This is accepted as a
natural and unintended event. [2]

Rumours arose in the 1970s and 1980s that such physiological improvements during pregnancy led to attempts by East
German athletes to enhance their performance by getting pregnant and then having an abortion.[1] Prince Alexandre de
Merode, then vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), supported stories that Eastern European athletes
do get artificially inseminated and then abort two to three months later in an attempt to boost athletic performance. The prince
went on to claim he knew a Swiss doctor who was performing the procedure however it has yet to be proven. [4] The
procedure was determined not to be illegal by the IOC.[5]
Regarding the incident Greg Whyte, Professor of applied sport and exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University, has
stated: "It is certainly viable that pregnancies were enforced and then terminated as part of the old East German regime,
some doctors have claimed they know that is the case.” [1]

Testing and prevalence
Testing for abortion doping is virtually impossible, as the only things to test for are the athletes’ own naturally enriched blood
and hormones. [5] While abortion doping is officially banned under United States Olympic rules, there is no ban on getting
pregnant.[6] If an athlete was accused of abortion doping she could simply argue that the abortion was not for the temporary
physiological benefits. It remains unknown how common the procedure is, and it has yet to be proven if it has been
purposefully implemented at all. Opinions vary greatly; it is regarded as completely unfounded by some and is accepted as a
worldwide athletic phenomenon by others. A sports medicine expert in Finland has been quoted saying, "Now that drug
testing is routine, pregnancy is becoming the favorite way of getting an edge on competition."[6]

See also
   Blood doping
  1. ^ a b c d e Bee, Peta (September 14, 2009). "Sportswomen benefit from pregnancy"     . The Times. Archived     from the original on
     28 May 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Paulev, Poul-Erik M.D., D.Sci. Medical Physiology And Pathophysiology (1999-2000) Chapter 18 [1]
  3. ^ Stanek, Jill (May 25, 2007). "Female athletes, the "weakened state" of pregnancy, and abortion doping"    . Jillstanek.com.
     Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  4. ^ Greer, Germaine (May 6, 2007). "It's time for the pregnant Olympics"   . Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Mikkleson, Barbara (September 8, 2008). "Abortion Doping"   . Snopes.com. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Webb, Royce. "Fahrenheit 755: Baseball Gets Hammered, or The Thrill of Victory, and the Agony of Da Fetus"       . ESPN.
     Retrieved April 29, 2010.

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