Special Issue "Reproductive Health Concerns for Women"

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Medical Research".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Peng-Hui Wang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei 112, Taiwan
Interests: clinical trial; minimally invasive surgery; gynecological cancer; fertility-preservation surgery
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Women of reproductive age are living in the most nourished and productive period of life. Generally, they are spirited and healthy. However, there is no doubt that many hormone-related disorders and fertility-related problems are apparent in this period. These include inflammatory diseases, menstruation-related disorders, sub- or infertility problems, pregnancy-related diseases, and various kinds of benign and/or malignant genito-urinary tract tumors. The preservation of reproductive function is of paramount importance for these women, contributing to a significant and big challenge in modern medicine. A better understanding of the pathophysiology of these disorders, and a continuous development of far-advanced new technology in the screening, monitoring, and managing of these disorders not only provide a better chance in the successful treatment for these disorders, but also for maintaining the anatomical and functional integrity in women. For example, with the aid of minimally invasive surgery and the combination of more effective medications in uterine fibroids, women can be managed conservatively with functional organ preservation in place of hysterectomy. In addition, assisted reproductive technology significantly helps many infertile couples to have their families.

In this Special Issue on Reproductive Health Concerns for Women, I would like to invite all experts to contribute to the field. Extensive systematic reviews, and meta-analyses, as well as original research ranging from the bench to clinical management are all welcome. Let us work together to do something positive for our world.

Prof. Dr. Peng-Hui Wang
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • fertility preservation
  • fertility-sparing surgery
  • benign or malignant gynecological diseases
  • infertility
  • health promotion
  • safe pregnancy

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
The Role of Oral Contraceptive Pills in Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Cohort Study
Life 2021, 11(7), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11070697 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 250
Abstract
There is a need to establish the role of antiandrogens as an alternative or concomitant therapy for hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Thus, the objectives of this study are (1) to assess the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) at week 12 in HS women, [...] Read more.
There is a need to establish the role of antiandrogens as an alternative or concomitant therapy for hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Thus, the objectives of this study are (1) to assess the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) at week 12 in HS women, and (2) to describe the clinical profile of patients receiving oral contraceptive pills (OCPs). A prospective observational study was designed. This study included 100 participants, 50 women with HS who started OCPs for the first time at our HS Clinic and 50 participants without OCP treatment. The main outcome of interest was the percentage of reduction in total abscess and inflammatory nodule (AN) count at week 12. Thirty-three women received combined OCPs and 17 non-combined OCP. HS patients with OCPs treatment were younger (31.7 vs. 40.9 years, p < 0.001), thinner (28.62 vs. 33.35 kg/m2), and have a higher number of areas affected (2.32 vs. 1.38, p = 0.02) than those without OCPs. After 12-weeks of treatment, it was observed that the percentage of AN reduction was higher in HS women receiving OCP than in patients without OCP (53.9% vs. 38.42%, p = 0.049). It was observed that OCP prescription (β = 3.79, p = 0.034) and concomitant therapy (β = 3.91, p = 0.037) were independently associated with a higher % AN when controlling for disease duration, concomitant therapy, and treatment with/without OCP (R2 = 0.67). The factors potentially associated with the percentage AN reduction at week 12 in HS women treated with OCPs were disease duration (β = −1.327, p = 0.052), concomitant therapy (β = 11.04, p = 0.079), and HS worsening with the menstrual cycle (β = 10.55, p = 0.087). In conclusion, OCPs might be effective for improving AN count in women with HS. Women whose HS worsens in relation to the menstrual cycle and have a shorter disease may benefit more from the therapeutic effect of OCPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Activation of Blood Vessel Development in Endometrial Stromal Cells In Vitro Cocultured with Human Peri-Implantation Embryos Revealed by Single-Cell RNA-Seq
Life 2021, 11(5), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050367 - 21 Apr 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
In humans, the maternal endometrium participates in the physical and physiological interaction with the blastocyst to begin implantation. A bidirectional crosstalk is critical for normal implantation and then a successful pregnancy. While several studies have used animal models or cell lines to study [...] Read more.
In humans, the maternal endometrium participates in the physical and physiological interaction with the blastocyst to begin implantation. A bidirectional crosstalk is critical for normal implantation and then a successful pregnancy. While several studies have used animal models or cell lines to study this step, little knowledge was acquired to address the role of endometrial cells in humans. Here, we analyzed single-cell sequencing data from a previous study including 24 non-coculture endometrial stromal cells (EmSCs) and 57 EmSCs after coculture with embryos. We further explored the transcriptomic changes in EmSCs and their interactions with trophoblast cells after coculture. Differentially expressed gene (DEG) analysis showed 1783 upregulated genes and 569 downregulated genes in the cocultured embryos. Weight gene coexpression network and gene ontology analysis of these DEGs showed a higher expression of RAMP1, LTBP1, and LRP1 in EmSCs after coculture, indicating the enrichment of biological processes in blood vessel development and female pregnancy. These data imply that EmSCs start blood vessel development at the implantation stage. Compared with endometrium data in vivo at the implantation window, key pathways including epithelial cell development and oxygen response were involved at this stage. Further analysis using CellphoneDB shed light on the interactions between EmSCs and embryonic trophoblasts, suggesting the important role of integrins and fibroblast growth factor pathways during implantation. Taken together, our work reveals the synchronization signaling and pathways happening at the implantation stage involving the acquisition of receptivity in EmSCs and the interaction between EmSCs and trophoblast cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Reproductive Potential and Outcomes in Patients with Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Clinical Profile and Therapeutic Implications
Life 2021, 11(4), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11040277 - 26 Mar 2021
Viewed by 489
Abstract
There are scarce data available regarding the impact of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) on fertility, course and outcome of pregnancy and risk associated with treatments. The aims of this study are (1) to describe the clinical profile of HS women of childbearing age with [...] Read more.
There are scarce data available regarding the impact of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) on fertility, course and outcome of pregnancy and risk associated with treatments. The aims of this study are (1) to describe the clinical profile of HS women of childbearing age with and without accomplished reproductive desires and (2) to describe the prescribed treatments based on the fulfillment of reproductive intentions. We conducted a prospective observational study that included 104 HS women of childbearing age, 50.96% (53/104) with unfulfilled reproductive desires. These women were younger (29.08 vs. 42.06 years, p < 0.001), less frequently married and higher educated than women with fulfilled reproductive desires. Their age of disease onset was lower, but disease duration was shorter, in concordance with a lower International Hidradenitis Suppurativa Severity Score System (IHS4) and lower number of draining tunnels. Combined oral contraceptives were more frequently prescribed in women with unfulfilled reproductive desires (30.19% vs. 9.80%, p = 0.013) while biologics were less used in this group (3.77% vs. 13.73%, p = 0.08). In conclusion, a higher educational level and an earlier disease onset, with potential implications in finding a partner, may make the fulfillment of reproductive desires difficult for patients with HS. This study could help clinicians to achieve a better understanding of the specific characteristics of HS during childbearing age and consider reproductive desires when making treatment decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Pre-Pregnancy Risk Factors for Severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Korean Population Based Cohort Study
Life 2021, 11(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11010012 - 26 Dec 2020
Viewed by 725
Abstract
Hyperemesis gravidarum is known to be associated with poor perinatal outcomes. This study aimed to identify pre-pregnancy risk factors for hospital admission in women with hyperemesis gravidarum. We enrolled women who had delivered between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2015, and had [...] Read more.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is known to be associated with poor perinatal outcomes. This study aimed to identify pre-pregnancy risk factors for hospital admission in women with hyperemesis gravidarum. We enrolled women who had delivered between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2015, and had undergone a national health screening examination through the National Health Insurance Corporation 1–2 years before their first delivery. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate the risk factors for hospital admission due to hyperemesis gravidarum. Of the 216,373 study participants with hyperemesis gravidarum, 2210 (1.02%) pregnant women were hospitalized. These women had lower waist circumference and were underweight based on body mass index compared to pregnant women who did not require hospitalization due to hyperemesis gravidarum. On multivariate analysis, primiparity, multiple pregnancies, female fetus, alcohol consumption, and pre-pregnancy underweight status were associated with an increased risk of hospitalization due to the condition. In this population-based cohort study, we found that hospitalization due to hyperemesis gravidarum was associated with pre-pregnancy lifestyle characteristics. Early recognition and management of these pre-pregnancy factors may help control the need for hospitalization in women with the condition in subsequent pregnancies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Efficacy of Applying Hyaluronic Acid Gels in the Primary Prevention of Intrauterine Adhesion after Hysteroscopic Myomectomy: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Life 2020, 10(11), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10110285 - 15 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 775
Abstract
Intrauterine adhesion (IUA), which mainly occurs after intrauterine surgery or an inflammatory process, is an important but often neglected condition in women of reproductive age. The presentation of IUA varies greatly, ranging from symptom-free to severe, with amenorrhea or infertility. With much advanced [...] Read more.
Intrauterine adhesion (IUA), which mainly occurs after intrauterine surgery or an inflammatory process, is an important but often neglected condition in women of reproductive age. The presentation of IUA varies greatly, ranging from symptom-free to severe, with amenorrhea or infertility. With much advanced development of intrauterine instruments, more intrauterine diseases can be successfully cured by hysteroscopic surgery. Among these, submucosal myoma is one of the best examples. Submucosal myomas are often related to abnormal bleeding, anemia, and possible infertility or miscarriage. However, submucosal myoma after hysteroscopic myomectomy may be complicated by IUA in various grades of severity, and its incidence and prevalence might be nearly one-quarter to one-third of patients, suggesting an urgent need for efforts to decrease the risk of developing IUA after hysteroscopic myomectomy. Many strategies have been reported to be useful for this purpose, and intrauterine application of anti-adhesive gels, such as polyethylene oxide–sodium carboxymethylcellulose (PEO-NaCMC) or auto-crosslinked hyaluronic acid (ACHA), has become increasingly popular in routine clinical practice. This meta-analysis is aimed at investigating the effect of ACHA on the primary prevention of IUA formation after hysteroscopic myomectomy. A pooled analysis of three studies (hysteroscopic surgeries for fibroids, polyps, and septum) including 242 women showed that using PEO-NaCMC or ACHA gel decreased the IUA rate with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.364 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.189–0.703, p = 0.03). Pooled analysis of two studies that limited the use of ACHA in 119 women showed that the application of ACHA gel for the primary prevention of IUA in patients after hysteroscopic myomectomy led to a statistically significant reduction of the development of IUA postoperatively (OR 0.285, 95% CI 0.116–0.701, p = 0.006). All of this suggests that the use of ACHA gel in patients after hysteroscopic myomectomy could significantly reduce de novo IUA, although more evidence is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Antioxidant Intervention Attenuates Aging-Related Changes in the Murine Ovary and Oocyte
Life 2020, 10(11), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10110250 - 22 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1009
Abstract
Advanced maternal age (AMA) is associated with reduced fertility due in part to diminished ovarian follicle quantity, inferior oocyte quality, chromosome aneuploidy, and lower implantation rates. Ovarian aging is accompanied by increased oxidative stress and blunted antioxidant signaling, such that antioxidant intervention could [...] Read more.
Advanced maternal age (AMA) is associated with reduced fertility due in part to diminished ovarian follicle quantity, inferior oocyte quality, chromosome aneuploidy, and lower implantation rates. Ovarian aging is accompanied by increased oxidative stress and blunted antioxidant signaling, such that antioxidant intervention could improve reproductive potential. The first aim of this study was to determine the molecular effects of antioxidant intervention in the ovaries and oocytes of aged mice, utilizing a supplement containing only naturally occurring açaí (Euterpe oleracea) with an oxygen radical absorbance capacity of 208,628 μmol Trolox equivalent (TE)/100 g indicating high antioxidant activity. Nine month old female CF-1 mice were administered 80 mg/day antioxidants (n = 12) or standard diet (n = 12) for 12 weeks. In the ovary, antioxidant treatment upregulated β-adrenergic signaling, downregulated apoptosis and proinflammatory signaling, and variably affected cell growth and antioxidant pathways (p < 0.05). Exogenous antioxidants also increased the oocyte expression of antioxidant genes GPX1, SOD2, and GSR (p < 0.05). A feasibility analysis was then conducted on female AMA infertility patients as a proof-of-principle investigation. Patients (n = 121; <45 years old) consented to receiving 600 mg antioxidants three times daily for ≥8 weeks preceding infertility treatment. Preliminary results indicate promising outcomes for AMA patients, warranting further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Non-Criteria Antiphospholipid Antibodies: Risk Factors for Endothelial Dysfunction in Women with Pre-Eclampsia
Life 2020, 10(10), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10100241 - 14 Oct 2020
Viewed by 693
Abstract
The association between unconventional antiphospholipid antibodies and pre-eclampsia in patients without thrombotic manifestations and its relationship with endothelial dysfunction after delivery has been studied poorly. We included 157 pregnant women, 122 of them having developed pre-eclampsia (56 non-severe and 66 severe). The determination [...] Read more.
The association between unconventional antiphospholipid antibodies and pre-eclampsia in patients without thrombotic manifestations and its relationship with endothelial dysfunction after delivery has been studied poorly. We included 157 pregnant women, 122 of them having developed pre-eclampsia (56 non-severe and 66 severe). The determination of classical and unconventional, as well as pulse wave velocity and ankle-brachial index were performed at three months after delivery. The prevalence of unconventional antiphospholipid antibodies was 22.9% and 54.9% in patients included in control and pre-eclampsia groups, respectively (p = 0.001). The most frequent antiphospholipid antibody was IgM anti-phosphatidylserine/prothrombin in both cohorts. The presence of IgM anti-phosphatidylserine/prothrombin showed an association with the development of pre-eclampsia (OR = 5.4; CI 95% (2.0–14.9), p = 0.001) with an AUC of 0.744 (p < 0.001). Likewise, IgM anti-phosphatidylserine/prothrombin exhibited a positive linear correlation with pulse wave velocity values (rho = 0.830; p < 0.001) and an association with the presence of pulse wave velocity altered values (OR = 1.33; CI95% (1.10–1.59), p = 0.002). With regard to ankle braquial index values, the presence of IgM anti-phosphatidylserine/prothrombin displayed a weak negative correlation (rho = −0.466; p < 0.001) and an association with altered ankle braquial index values (OR = 1.08; CI 95% (1.04–1.13), p < 0.001). In patients who developed preeclampsia, the presence of IgM anti-phosphatidylserine/prothrombin could be associated with endothelial dysfunction, causing alteration of cardiovascular parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Markers of Endothelial Injury and Dysfunction in Early- and Late-Onset Preeclampsia
Life 2020, 10(10), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10100239 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 557
Abstract
With regard to differences in the clinical symptoms of preeclampsia (PE), the degree of endothelial dysfunction may differ between early and late-onset preeclampsia (EOP and LOP). The authors of this study examined it by assessing the endothelial injury level in women with EOP [...] Read more.
With regard to differences in the clinical symptoms of preeclampsia (PE), the degree of endothelial dysfunction may differ between early and late-onset preeclampsia (EOP and LOP). The authors of this study examined it by assessing the endothelial injury level in women with EOP (20 patients) and LOP (20 patients) and in normotensive pregnant women (20 patients) in their late second and third trimesters of pregnancy, using the two markers—the serum concentration of hyaluronan (HA) and the serum level of soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1). The serum concentrations of HA and sVCAM-1 did not differ significantly between the EOP and LOP patients. However, these were statistically higher than that of the control group participants (p < 0.05; p < 0.001). A significant correlation between the levels of HA and sVCAM-1 was found both in the entire group of patients with preeclampsia (p = 0.0277) and in women with late-onset disease (p = 0.0364), but not in the patients with early-onset preeclampsia (p = 0.331). The obtained results indicated a comparable level of endothelial injury in the two types of PE. The presence of a similar degree of endothelial injury in patients with EOP and LOP should create awareness among all clinicians about the possible fatal complications in both groups of patients with PE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Pregnancy Outcomes in Late Onset Pompe Disease
Life 2020, 10(9), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10090194 - 11 Sep 2020
Viewed by 769
Abstract
There is limited data on pregnancy outcomes in Pompe Disease (PD) resulting from deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase. Late-onset PD is characterized by progressive proximal muscle weakness and decline of respiratory function secondary to the involvement of the respiratory muscles. In [...] Read more.
There is limited data on pregnancy outcomes in Pompe Disease (PD) resulting from deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase. Late-onset PD is characterized by progressive proximal muscle weakness and decline of respiratory function secondary to the involvement of the respiratory muscles. In a cohort of twenty-five females, the effects of both PD on the course of pregnancy and the effects of pregnancy on PD were investigated. Reproductive history, course of pregnancy, use of Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), PD symptoms, and outcomes of each pregnancy were obtained through a questionnaire. Among 20 subjects that reported one or more pregnancies, one subject conceived while on ERT and continued therapy through two normal pregnancies with worsening of weakness during pregnancy and improvement postpartum. While fertility was not affected, pregnancy may worsen symptoms, or cause initial symptoms to arise. Complications with pregnancy or birth were not higher, except for an increase in the rate of stillbirths (3.8% compared to the national average of 0.2–0.7%). Given small sample size and possible bias of respondents being only women who have been pregnant, further data may be needed to better analyze the effects of pregnancy on PD, and the effects of ERT on pregnancy outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Validating the Use of Corifollitropin Alfa in Progestin-Primed Ovarian Stimulation Protocol on Normal and High Responders by Comparing with Conventional Antagonist Protocol: A Retrospective Study
Life 2020, 10(6), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10060090 - 21 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 700
Abstract
Our previous study showed a satisfactory reproductive outcome resulting from the patient-friendly ovarian stimulation protocol using long-acting follicle stimulation hormone (FSH) plus oral medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). The present retrospective study aims to compare the efficacy of the patient-friendly ovarian stimulation protocol with that [...] Read more.
Our previous study showed a satisfactory reproductive outcome resulting from the patient-friendly ovarian stimulation protocol using long-acting follicle stimulation hormone (FSH) plus oral medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). The present retrospective study aims to compare the efficacy of the patient-friendly ovarian stimulation protocol with that of the antagonist protocol on normal and high responders aged between 24 and 39 years in a tertiary fertility center in Taiwan. To prevent premature luteinizing hormone (LH) surge, oral MPA was given to patients in group 1 (n = 57), whereas antagonist protocol was applied to group 2 (n = 53). Duration and dosage of stimulation, number of injections and visits before trigger, incidence of premature LH surge, number of oocytes retrieved, fertilization rate, cleavage rate, rate of good embryos available, incidence of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, cumulative clinical pregnancy rate and live birth rate per retrieval were compared between groups. We conclude that our patient-friendly ovarian stimulation protocol with MPA demonstrates satisfactory stimulation and reproductive outcomes that are comparable to those of an antagonist protocol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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Article
Crosslinked Hyaluronic Acid Gels for the Prevention of Intrauterine Adhesions after a Hysteroscopic Myomectomy in Women with Submucosal Myomas: A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Trial
Life 2020, 10(5), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10050067 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Intrauterine adhesion (IUA), fibrosis, and scarring resulting from damage to the endometrium is a rare but serious clinical disease, contributing to a significant impairment of reproductive function. Uterine instrumentation, especially that of a hysteroscopic myomectomy, has become the main cause of IUA. Therefore, [...] Read more.
Intrauterine adhesion (IUA), fibrosis, and scarring resulting from damage to the endometrium is a rare but serious clinical disease, contributing to a significant impairment of reproductive function. Uterine instrumentation, especially that of a hysteroscopic myomectomy, has become the main cause of IUA. Therefore, a prospective randomized controlled study to assess the effectiveness and short-term safety of the use of hyaluronic acid gels in the prevention of IUA after a hysteroscopic myomectomy and an evaluation of the characteristics of IUA observed at follow-up are presented here. A total of 70 patients were analyzed at the end of 16 March 2020. The results show that the incidence of IUA in women who underwent a hysteroscopic myomectomy is 21.4% (15/70), overall. Women treated with hyaluronic acid gels have a statistically significantly lower incidence of IUAs than non-treated women (12.8% vs. 39.1%, p = 0.012). In addition, women in the anti-adhesive gel treatment group had a dramatically reduced severity of IUA than women in the no-treatment group (p = 0.002). Further analysis shows that the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) classification type and the use of anti-adhesive gels are independent factors associated with moderate and severe degrees of IUA formation. The results here highlight the significant therapeutic benefits of the application of hyaluronic acid gels in women undergoing a hysteroscopic myomectomy, especially for those patients with a uterine myoma classified as FIGO type 2. Since the risk of IUA after a hysteroscopic myomectomy is high, especially for patients who have not received prophylactic anti-adhesive gels, the application of hyaluronic acid gels as a prevention strategy is highly recommended. More studies are encouraged to confirm our observation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Health Concerns for Women)
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