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Greetings from Mumsnet HQ,


Where we're getting mighty excited about the prospect of two weeks of ogling Rafael's biceps. What better way to fill in the time when he's not on court, though, than to complete our three surveys on your child's health and hygiene, sleep environment, and you and your partner's work and life balance. There are hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers up for grabs, so it's definitely worth a few minutes of your time to fill them in.

One this week's competitions page we have an annual family pass to Alton Towers and some Hannah Montana goodies up for grabs, including an airbrush nail bar and a microphone, no less.

Tuesday night (July 1st) is Mumsnet book club night and this month we're discussing The Rain Before It Falls by Jonathan Coe. Grab a glass of wine and come and share your views here from 8pm and then post your questions live to Jonathan from 9pm. There's still just about time to pick up a copy of the book here.

And now for this week's parenting news ...

Sperm donor crisis: Infertility therapy with donated sperm has collapsed to the lowest levels since records began due to the removal of anonymity for donors, according to new figures. They show the number of women treated with donated sperm fell by about 20 per cent, from 2,727 in 2005 (the year anonymity ended) to 2,107 in 2006. Egg donation is also in decline, down by 40 per cent between 2004 and 2006. Most clinics now have waiting lists of at least two years for sperm, and a similar trend is affecting egg donation. Altruistic donation, involving relatives or friends, has remained static, but other schemes are in crisis. (Times 26.06.08)

New test for Down's: Every pregnant woman could be offered a blood test to check whether or not her baby has Down's syndrome. The new test uses genetic markers to show whether a foetus has the chromosomal disorder, and is the first method of checking for the condition without an invasive prenatal test such as amniocentesis. Trials on the test, developed in Hong Kong, have found it can diagnose 90 per cent of Down's cases, while also identifying 97 per cent of foetuses who do not have the condition. At present, conclusive testing for Down's is only offered to women found to be at high risk of having a baby with the syndrome. (Times 21.06.08)

Other stories in brief

One in ten children in England is obese by the start of primary school, according to new figures (Times 24.06.08); jobless parents are to be offered £200 handouts if they take up services offered by the Sure Start scheme, such as health jabs and help with children's reading and parenting (Guardian 23.06.08); the number of children needing emergency hospital treatment for diabetes has risen, according to new figures (BBC Online 23.06.08); rising food prices put five portions of fruit and vegetables a day out of families' reach, most parents polled told the Department of Health (BBC Online 23.06.08); and premature babies undergoing medical procedures may be in pain even if they show no signs of it, brain scans suggest (BBC Online 24.06.08).

BIG BUG HUNT - Calling all play leaders... Have you seen cheeky bug? Take part in the Big Bug Hunt in September/October 2008 and help track him down. To receive your free pack including stickers, activity sheets, bug templates and loads more visit or phone 0117 373 73 73.

Hot threads

Quote of the week

Sherbetdibdab on the contentious issue of whether parents should be married: "My DP is still married to someone else, so I feel it would be bad manners to marry him now, to be honest with you."

Looking for a day out? Mumsnetters recommend:

Aitch's TV round-up: Disarming Britain season, Channel 4, Monday June 30th to Friday July 4th

I haven't seen any previews, I should say in advance, but thought I'd give you the heads-up for this timely week-long programming extravaganza of hair-tearing about what brings us to a point in history where the death toll from gun and knife crime in Britain this year is comparable to that of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read more here.

Blog of the week: For Gods Sake! Where's the Instruction Manual?!

Superflybaby reflects on the occasional sheer unfairness of owning a two year old: "Just when I am at my wits end with DD ripping my clean washing from the line and strewing it around the garden, my Mum & Dad appear and say something like 'Ahh, are you helping Mummy put the washing out? Good girl!' 'No, no!' She wasn't helping she was being a Devil Child,' I insist."

Filled with pent-up parenting rage? Or want to write down your baby's milestones so you won't forget? Get blogging with your own Mumsnet Blog.

Carmenere's Recipe Of The Week - Strawberry ice cream

A perennial favourite, this week's recipe is from WelliesAndPyjamas. With fresh strawberries at their best at the moment but still quite pricey, (22p each at Wimbledon) this recipe is a great way to make them stretch. And with no faffing around with an ice cream maker, it couldn't be simpler.

Right, that's your lot for this week. We're off to watch the Wimbledon highlights.

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