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Is a Barbie Body Best For Pregnancy?

Andrea Askowitz, is the lesbian mother of a seven year old daughter and a two year old son. Her first pregnancy was the product of donor sperm and her own egg. Andrea carried her daughter herself, but she wasn’t exactly thrilled with the experience, or so one gleans from the title of her book: “My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy”.

So when she decided she wanted her daughter to have a sibling, Andrea went online in search of a “young wife” to be her partner and bear her another child. Just as she had sought a sperm donor with optimal genetic characteristics (tall, apparently emotionally stable), she wanted a mother for her second child to be genetically optimal: a woman of peak childbearing age, with the ideal waist-hip ratio associated with maximum fertility. Women with a 7 to 10 relationship of waist size to hip size are considered universally more sexually appealing to men because they are thought to be more fertile.

But does having an hourglass shape really mean you are more likely to be fertile?

Apparently so, according to some studies.  Says the New Scientist:

“Large-breasted, narrow-waisted women have the highest reproductive potential, according to a new study, suggesting western men’s penchant for women with an hourglass shape may have some biological justification.

Women with a relatively low waist-to-hip ratio and large breasts had about 30 per cent higher levels of the female reproductive hormone estradiol than women with other combinations of body shapes, found Grazyna Jasienska, at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and colleagues.

Two of the team, Peter Ellison and Susan Lipson at Harvard University in the US, have previously shown that higher levels of estradiol are indeed related to higher fertility in women trying to get pregnant.

“If there are 30 per cent higher levels, it means they are roughly three times more likely to get pregnant,” Jasienska, a human biologist, told New Scientist.”

Andrea’s story is a little strange to read, because we’re not used to seeing these qualities so up front and center in the search for a mate. Or maybe we’re just not used to seeing women seeking them instead of men?

Read Andrea’s story: Perfect, With Childbearing Hips

photo: LuisVilla/flickr

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