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AMD Radeon 6700 XT vs. 5700 XT: Putting RDNA2 to the Test

AMD’s 6700 XT launch last week gives us a bit of an unusual opportunity. Typically, generational GPU comparisons are a bit limited because core counts, texture units, and ROP configurations don’t align perfectly between the families. AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT is an exception to this rule, and it allows for a tighter comparison of RDNA versus RDNA2 that would otherwise be possible.

The Radeon 6700 XT and 5700 XT both feature 40 CUs, 160 texture mapping units, and 64 render outputs. (2560:160:64). The 5700 XT has a wider memory pipeline with a 256-bit memory bus and 14Gbps GDDR6. This works out to 448GB/s of main memory bandwidth. The 6700 XT, in contrast, has a 192-bit memory bus, 16Gbps GDDR6, 384GB/s of memory bandwidth, and a 96MB L3 cache. Today, we’ll be examining the 5700 XT against the 6700 XT at the same clock speed to measure the performance and efficiency impacts of the new architecture, smaller memory bus, and L3 cache.


According to AMD, switching to a huge L3 cache allowed them to shrink the memory bus while improving performance. There’ve been concerns from readers that this limited memory bus could prove a liability in gaming, given that a 192-bit memory bus on a $ 479 card is highly unusual.

Comparing both GPUs at the same clock allows us to look for any additional IPC (instructions per clock cycle) improvements between the 5700 XT and 6700 XT. RDNA is capable of issuing one instruction per clock cycle, compared with one instruction every four cycles for GCN. This allowed AMD to claim a 1.25x IPC improvement from GCN to RDNA, and while the company hasn’t claimed an equivalent increase from RDNA to RDNA2, we may see signs of low-level optimizations or just the overall impact of the L3 itself.

We’re comparing the performance of the 5700 XT and 6700 XT today, with both cards approximately locked to a 1.85GHz clock speed. We’ll also compare against the 6700 XT at full speed (SAM disabled) to see the card’s native performance and power consumption. A full review of this card, with Nvidia comparison data, will be arriving shortly.

Test Setup, Configuration, and a New Graphing Engine

We’re shifting to a new, more capable graphing engine here at ET. The graph below shows our results in 11 titles for the 5700 XT (1.85GHz). Clicking on any of the color buttons next to a given card will remove that card from the results, allowing you to focus on the others. Click on the button again to restore the data. Data is broken up by tabs, with one resolution per tab.

Game results were combined for the three Total War: Troy benchmark maps (Battle, Campaign, and Siege), leading to the “Combined” score. Similarly, results from Hitman 2’s Miami and Mumbai maps were averaged to produce a single result. Gaps between the cards in these maps were proportional and this averaging does not distort the overall comparison between the three cards in those titles. We’ve still used our classic graphs for a few results that didn’t map neatly into the specific result format used in this article, but the new engine is spiffier (a technical term), so we plan to use it for most projects going forward.

This presentation method prevents us from giving per-game detail settings in the graph body, so we’ll cover those below:

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation: Crazy Detail, DX12.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins: Ultra Detail, DX11.

Borderlands 3
: Ultra detail, DX12

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Very High Detail, 4x MSAA, DX12

Far Cry 5
: Ultra Detail, High Detail Textures enabled, DX11.

Hitman 2 Combined:
Ultra detail, but performance measured by “GPU” frame rate reported via the benchmarking tool. This maintains continuity with the older Hitman results, which were reported the same way. Miami and Mumbai test results combined. Tested in DX12.

Metro Exodus:
: Tested at Extreme Detail, with Hairworks and Advanced Physics disabled. Extreme Detail activates 2xSSAA, effectively rendering the game at 4K, 5K, and 8K when testing 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. Tested in DX12.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider
: Tested at High Detail, with SMAATx2 enabled. Uses DX12.

Strange Brigade
: Ultra Detail, Vulkan.

Total War: Troy Combined
: Ultra detail, DX12.

Total War: Warhammer II
: Ultra detail, Skaven benchmark, DX12.

Of the games we test, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Metro Exodus put the heaviest load on the GPUs, by far. DXMD’s multisample antialiasing implementation carries a very heavy penalty and Exodus is effectively rendering in 8K due to the use of supersampled antialiasing.

All games were tested using an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X on an MSI X570 Godlike equipped with 32GB of DDR4-3200 RAM. AMD’s Ryzen 6700 XT launch driver was used to test both the 5700 XT and 6700 XT. ReBAR / SAM was disabled — AMD doesn’t support this feature on the 5700 XT, so we disabled it for our 6700 XT IPC comparison. ReBAR / SAM is also disabled for the 6700 XT “full clock” results, to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison. We’ll have results with SAM enabled in our full 6700 XT review.

The 1.85GHz clock speed is approximate. In-game clocks remain near the minimum value, but this is not absolute. The 6700 XT was allowed to run between 1.85GHz and 1.95GHz and remained near 1.85GHz. The 5700 XT’s clock ranges from 1.75GHz – 1.95GHz, but it mostly remains between 1.8 – 1.9GHz. AMD’s 6700 XT requires a 100MHz GPU clock range and the 5700 XT didn’t respond to our attempts to manually adjust its clock, so we tuned the 6700 XT to the 5700 XT’s default clock range.

These tests will show any high-resolution / high-detail bottleneck that appears on the 6700 XT versus the 5700 XT. If the 6700 XT’s L3 can’t compensate for the increased memory pressure, the 5700 XT should outperform it. The 6700 XT’s default base clock is 2325MHz, or ~1.26x higher than the 1.85GHz minimum value we defined. Low scaling between the 1.85GHz Radeon 6700 XT and the stock-clocked version may mean memory bandwidth pressure is limiting performance.

We’ll also check power efficiency between the cards because AMD claimed a 1.5x increase for RDNA2 over and above RDNA.

Performance Test Results & Analysis

Here’s the good news: There’s no sign that the L3 cache + 192-bit memory bus chokes the 6700 XT in realistic workloads. Only two games show evidence of memory pressure: Metro Exodus and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The benchmark settings we use in those two titles make them maximally difficult to render: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s MSAA implementation is very expensive, on all GPUs. Metro Exodus’ “Extreme” benchmark preset renders at 2xSSAA. The game may still be output at 4K, but internally the GPU is rendering 8K worth of pixels. Reducing either of these settings to a sane value would immediately resolve the problem.

There is no sign of a memory bottleneck in the 6700 XT versus the 5700 XT in any other game we tested. On the contrary, one game — Far Cry 5 — shows sharply improved results at 4K for the 6700 XT compared with the 5700 XT. We confirmed these gains with repeated testing and confirmed the results. Either the L3 cache or some other aspect of RDNA2 seems to improve FC5 at 4K, in particular.

AMD has said the 6700 XT is intended as a 1440p GPU and our test results suggest that resolution shows the greatest gap between the 5700 XT and 6700 XT when the two are normalized clock-for-clock. Compared against itself, the gap between the 1.85GHz and the stock-clock 6700 XT was also widest at 1440p.

We’ve also included a few quick results in two benchmarks that use different scales than our tests above and were graphed on older templates: Final Fantasy XV and Neon Noir, the latter as a rare ray tracing game that can run on the 5700 XT.

There is no dramatically different data in either set of results. The gap in FFXV is the largest in 1440p but at 1.85GHz the 5700 XT catches (but doesn’t pass) the 6700 XT @ 1.85GHz in 4K. In Neon Noir, the Crytek ray tracing benchmark, the two GPUs hold a steady gap between themselves.

There’s only limited evidence for IPC gains between RDNA and RDNA2. Allowing for a 2-3 percent margin of error on the basis of GPU clock alone, and 2-3 percent for benchmark-to-benchmark variance, most of the gaps between RDNA and RDNA2 disappear. There are three exceptions at 1440p: Ashes of the Singularity (6700 XT is 15 percent faster), Assassin’s Creed: Origins (10 percent faster), and Total War: Warhammer II (8 percent faster).

The aggregate data across all games shows the 6700 XT is 3 percent faster than the 5700 XT at 1080p, 6 percent faster at 1440p, and 5 percent faster in 4K when the two GPUs are compared clock-for-clock. When tested at full speed (with SAM disabled), the full-speed 6700 XT is 1.23x faster than the 5700 XT at 1080p, 1.3x faster at 1440p, and 1.28x faster at 4K.

These clock-for-clock performance results don’t look great for RDNA2 versus RDNA, but we haven’t checked power consumption data. AMD claimed a 1.5x improvement in performance per watt for RDNA2 versus RDNA, and we don’t have much evidence for performance improvements yet. We measured full-load power consumption during the third run of a three-loop Metro Exodus benchmark at 1080p in Extreme Detail.

This is all sorts of interesting. Clock for clock, RDNA2 is much more power-efficient than RDNA. The 5700 XT and 6700 XT perform virtually identically in Exodus at 1080p, and the 6700 XT is drawing nearly 100W less power to do it while fielding 12GB of RAM (up from 8GB) and a 16Gbps RAM clock (1.14x higher than the 14Gbps on the 5700 XT).

The 5700 XT draws 1.37x as much power as the 6700 XT when they’re measured at the same clock and approximate performance level. That’s an impressive achievement for an iterative new architecture without a new process node involved. Unfortunately, it all goes out the window when the clock turns up. At stock clock in Metro Exodus, the 6700 XT with SAM disabled is 1.21x faster than RDNA, but it uses about 3 percent more power. Clearly, AMD has a fairly power-efficient chip at lower clocks, but it’s tapping 100 percent of available clock room to compete more effectively.

RDNA2 unquestionably offers AMD better clock scaling than the company’s GPUs have previously enjoyed, but with a heavy impact on power consumption. AMD pays for a 1.24x performance improvement with a 1.41x increase in power consumption. That’s not far from a 2:1 ratio, and it speaks to the importance of keeping efficiency high and clocks low in GPU architectures. Clock-for-clock, RDNA2 is capable of offering substantial power advantages over RDNA, but AMD has tuned the 6700 XT for performance, not power consumption. A hypothetical 6700 at lower clock could offer substantially better power consumption, but might not compete effectively with down-market Nvidia cards.

When AMD launched RDNA back in 2019, we noted that the company’s efforts to transform its GPUs would take time, and that not nearly enough of it had passed for an equivalent, Ryzen-like transformation of the product family. Looking at RDNA2 versus RDNA, we definitely see the increased power efficiency AMD was chasing in-evidence when the 5700 XT and 6700 XT are compared clock-for-clock. The smaller memory bus and large L3 cache do indeed appear to pay dividends. AMD is still aggressively tuning its GPUs for competitive purposes, but it has found new efficiencies with RDNA compared with GCN and then with RDNA2 compared to RDNA, to enable it to further boost performance.

We’ll examine the competitive and efficiency situation vis-à-vis Nvidia later this week.

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B.C. putting limits on rental properties, houseboats as COVID-19 cases rise

The latest in British Columbia:

  • 30 new cases of coronavirus confirmed on Thursday.
  • 1 new death in a long-term care home.
  • 16 people in hospital.
  • 3 people in intensive care.
  • 304 cases remain active.
  • 190 people have died.
  • 2,898 people have recovered.

B.C. will limit the number of people allowed on rental properties and boats, including houseboats, as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the province, officials said Thursday. 

The new provincial health order will apply to all rental properties, including services like Airbnb.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the limits will be based on the size of the rental, but did not provide specific numbers or say when the order will go into effect. She said health authorities are working with the industry to determine those details. 

The province is urging British Columbians to avoid gathering in large groups after a recent spike in cases. There were 102 new infections diagnosed between last Friday and Monday, 70 of which, said Henry, have been linked to parties and other events in Kelowna over the past several weeks.

“We need you to keep your groups small,” Henry said. “The actions of a few… can cause a tremendous impact.”

The province confirmed 30 new cases on Thursday, and 34 on Wednesday when stricter rules were placed on restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Under those rules, all patrons in restaurants, bars and nightclubs must be seated, ordering from the bar will not be allowed and dance floors are closed.

Close to 1,000 British Columbians are currently in self-isolation.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the past two weeks have delivered some “hard lessons.” He’s urging British Columbians to continue following protocols that flattened the curve in the spring: hand washing, physical distancing and wearing a mask.

“Wearing a mask does not take away the obligation to physically distance,” he added. 

Premier John Horgan urged British Columbians to not backslide on progress made so far.

He made it clear he’s concerned about recent case counts stemming from parties in Kelowna, and a large drum circle at a Vancouver beach earlier this week. 

“Come on. You’re better than that. We need bigger spaces and fewer faces,” he said Thursday. 

“The challenge ahead of us is enormous. COVID-19 is still very much in our community and we have a collective responsibility to do what we can to defeat it.”

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‘Teen Mom OG’ Star Maci Bookout Responds to Negative Backlash for Putting 11-Year-Old Son on ‘Strict’ Diet

‘Teen Mom OG’ Star Maci Bookout Responds to Negative Backlash for Putting 11-Year-Old Son on ‘Strict’ Diet | Entertainment Tonight

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South Korean soccer team slammed with record fine for putting sex dolls in seats

South Korea’s K League said on Wednesday its disciplinary committee decided to impose a 100 million won ($ 113,173) fine on FC Seoul for using sex dolls instead of mannequins to fill empty seats in their stadium.

The club placed dolls in seats during a K League match on Sunday to make up for the absence of fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“The disciplinary committee decided to take heavy disciplinary action considering the graveness of the incident, caused by the ‘real doll’, that has greatly insulted and hurt female and family fans and to prevent similar incidents going forward,” K League said in a statement.

The club apologized on Monday saying they had failed to check the consignment sent by the supplier, though adding it was not aware the dolls were “adult products.”

Though the incident was not intended, it was possible to distinguish the dolls from ordinary mannequins and the club has made a serious mistake by not removing them when it had enough time before the game started, K League added.

Some of the dolls had been dressed in the club’s kit while others were holding supportive placards. Fans watching the match on television took to social media to raise doubts about the inflatable spectators.

About 25 mannequins were supplied by a local company and dressed in FC Seoul colours and wearing masks. The Yonhap news agency reported that fans posted suspicions about the life-size dolls on social media during the match and one banner showed the names of an adult toy manufacturer and of models who had inspired those dolls.

World’s attention

Such advertising is in breach of the competition’s rules, and K-League officials have referred the matter to a disciplinary committee.

On May 8, the K-League became the first major soccer league to start playing after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered sports around the world. The opening game attracted 19 million viewers worldwide.

There could be worse to follow for FC Seoul, the 2016 league champion. According to reports, Seoul Facilities Corporation, which operates the stadium, is investigating a potential breach. As part of its lease agreement, the club is required to obtain permission in advance for advertising. By not doing so, it could be expelled from the stadium where it has been based since 2004.

FC Seoul issued another apology on Wednesday as the case continued to dominate sports news. Yonhap said the club had asked the police to investigate.

“We apologize deeply to all those concerned about the unfortunate situation that occurred,” the club said. “We will review our internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again.”

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Putting off kids’ vaccines during COVID-19 heightens risk of other outbreaks

With daycares and schools closed across Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, immunization requirements aren’t being enforced by public health officials, and that has doctors worried about a possible surge in measles, whooping cough and other serious, vaccine-preventable illnesses.

The Canadian Paediatric Society is urging family physicians and other clinicians to ensure young patients don’t miss their vaccines.

Dr. Joan Robinson, a spokesperson for the society, said keeping children at home won’t completely protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Meningitis can be acquired from a completely healthy child or adult who carries the bacteria in the nose or throat,” said Robinson, who is a pediatric infectious disease physician at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

A family might have older children in their home who carry the bacteria and could spread it to the younger child, she said. 

She notes that some diseases also require three doses of vaccine in order for protection to be complete — and the pandemic shouldn’t interrupt the schedule of jabs.

But not all medical clinics and doctor’s offices have the infrastructure or enough personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and masks to offer routine vaccinations safely. Many clinics are closed altogether for the time being, amid quarantine measures imposed by the provinces and territories.

Drive-up vaccination

One doctor has come up with a creative way to inoculate his young patients.

Dr. Daniel Flanders, a pediatrician in Toronto, is administering drive-up vaccinations in the alley behind his office.

“This is a way to vaccinate the children in our community, while at the same time limiting our PPE [use].”

In this makeshift doctor’s office, there are no doorknobs to touch, no shared waiting space, no close-up conversations with office staff.

Marion Mallette brought her one-year-old daughter Violet to the drive-up clinic. “We just wanted to make sure we were keeping on top of her schedule, and we were concerned because of what’s going on right now.”

It took about a minute for Violet to receive her vaccines while sitting on her mom’s lap on a plastic chair outside the clinic. The vaccines were stored in a fridge set up outside and running with an extension cord.

‘Pandemic is bad enough’

Physicians and public health experts warn that a delay in immunizing even a small number of children heightens the risk of non-COVID outbreaks.

Pediatricians say they understand if inoculations can’t take place for a month or two. But once restrictions start to reach three months or more, they worry that the herd immunity rates that protect vulnerable individuals in the community could crumble.

“This pandemic is bad enough,” Flanders said. “If we layer on top of that vaccine-preventable infection outbreaks, that is really unthinkable.”

In April 2019, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn due to a measles outbreak. There was a spike in cases in the U.S. since 2018, following a three-year period of relatively low numbers. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

The World Health Organization is equally concerned.

Globally, the immunization of more and more children has led to historic progress against diseases like polio.

The United Nations health body said Thursday that when immunization services are disrupted, even for brief periods during emergencies, then the risk increases for outbreaks of measles and polio.

Last year’s deadly measles outbreak in Congo, which took more than 6,000 lives in a country already facing its largest Ebola outbreak, highlights the importance of maintaining essential health services, including immunizations, WHO said.

Dr. Katherine O’Brien, a Canadian pediatric infectious disease physician and epidemiologist with WHO in Geneva, says gaps in herd immunity affect the whole world, not just the local population.

“Measles anywhere is measles everywhere, even in Canada, which does have a strong immunization program,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said WHO is collecting information from different member countries trying innovations such as:

  • Administering vaccines in areas physically separated from sick patients coming in to be seen.
  • Limiting visits to one parent with one child.
  • Scheduling more days for vaccines, meaning fewer patients per day, so they can physically distance.

WHO recently listed vaccine hesitancy as a global public health threat, along with pandemics.

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Pressure to have multiple babies putting surrogates ‘at risk’

After Elizabeth Roberts had her two kids, the 39-year-old knew she wanted to help someone else build a family. Having watched a friend volunteer to be a surrogate, Roberts signed herself up in 2016.

The Halifax nurse filled out an online application for one of the biggest surrogacy agencies in the country, and within days, her profile was live.

“I didn’t quite understand what I was sinking my teeth into. I just knew that I wanted to help people,” Roberts said.

In the years since, Roberts has been a surrogate twice. And while her pregnancies have been relatively uneventful, she is now preparing for a hysterectomy, which she believes is because of her back-to-back pregnancies. 

Dr. John Kingdom, a high-risk obstetrician at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital and professor at the University of Toronto, said it’s possible that Roberts’s complications could have been caused by having pregnancies in quick succession.  

But he’s even more concerned that Canada does not have mandatory wait times for surrogacies. He said that leaves women like Roberts vulnerable to manipulation.

“I think we should recognize that surrogates are altruistic, kind people who are at risk of power imbalances,” Kingdom said. 

‘Like online dating for surrogacy’

Roberts said as soon as her profile went live in 2016, she was flooded by parent profiles and it broke her heart.  

“It was like online dating for surrogacy,” she said. “There are so many intended parents out there and only so many surrogates.”

Roberts connected with one couple right away, prepared her body with painful progesterone injections and estrogen patches and hoped for the best. 

“I had put a lot of pressure on myself, because literally all their eggs were in my basket. And I was just hoping that my basket would hold onto them.”

Two-time surrogate Elizabeth Roberts said there needs to be better medical standards for surrogates to prevent women from pursuing back-to-back pregnancies while they are emotionally vulnerable after giving birth. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

The embryo transplant worked, and nine months later she delivered the couple’s baby girl. Roberts remembers the birth like it was yesterday. 

She recalls “looking over and seeing the parents hold their daughter, and the dad looked up at me and he just had tears streaming down his face, and he just said, ‘Thank you.’ Any questions that I had ever had through the entire journey just disappeared in that moment.”

CBC News spoke with dozens of surrogates as part of an exclusive investigation, and nearly every woman described the intense emotional high they experienced right after giving birth to surrogacy babies, some describing it as addictive.

“I think that is the thing that you’re searching for when you go into this,” Roberts said. “We’ve done this huge, incredible, amazing thing — what are we going to do now? And so I knew right away that… I was going to have to do it again.”

Surrogates say they’re ‘hounded’ to do it again

During CBC’s three-month investigation into surrogacy, multiple women said their agency sent them new, heart-wrenching parent profiles within days of giving birth. Some of the women said they felt “hounded” to commit to a new couple right away.

The demand for surrogates in Canada far outweighs the number of women willing to carry a baby for someone else, which can cause women to feel pressured to commit to subsequent pregnancies. And there’s a financial imperative for the agency — every couple the company connects to a surrogate represents thousands of dollars of revenue from consulting fees.

One woman, who CBC has agreed not to identify because she fears backlash from the surrogacy community, said she delivered one surrogate baby and was pregnant with another less than four months later.

The first birth ended in a C-section, and within two months she was taking hormone injections to prepare her body for another round of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The second pregnancy ended in twins for an American father less than a year later. 

She said she was initially shocked by the tight turnaround, but it didn’t really make her nervous.

“Honestly, I was OK. The dad was OK. Clinics were on board,” she said. “You know, there was no forcing matters of any sort.”

CBC spoke to another woman who pursued surrogacy after having three children of her own. She has given birth to three babies through surrogacy since 2016, and was pregnant with a fourth that ended in a miscarriage. She is currently pursuing her fifth surrogacy in under four years.  

‘A lot of surrogates feel lost’ 

Roberts was transferred with an embryo for a second couple six months after the first surrogate birth, and delivered the second surrogate baby nine months later. 

Reflecting on her decision to pursue the second surrogacy so quickly, she said the speed between pregnancies didn’t concern her much at the time. But she now admits she was in an emotionally vulnerable state in the initial weeks after giving birth.

“I think a lot of surrogates feel lost. I know I felt lost afterwards,” said Roberts. “I didn’t know what else to do.”

In the period leading up to her second surrogate pregnancy, Roberts said neither the doctors overseeing her care nor anyone from the surrogacy industry questioned the quick timing or warned her of any risks that could come from a back-to-back pregnancy. 

While she said she never felt direct pressure from the parents, she believes she could have benefitted from someone who asked tough questions about why she was committing to another pregnancy so soon.  

She doubts it would have changed her mind, but she said her own internal pressure should have been challenged.

“I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time or money. I wanted to make sure that we had a result,” she said. “I could have said, ‘No, I’m done.’ I didn’t want to. I kept telling the mom, ‘It’s not over until this baby comes out, until I have your baby.’ I was bound and determined to help this family.” 

While the pregnancy went off without a hitch, the second surrogacy birth left Roberts with severe physical complications and she will need to undergo a hysterectomy. As she waits for the surgery, she’s often in so much pain she takes painkillers to help her get through the day.

“I think that every single surrogate at some point in their journey questions what they’re doing,” said Roberts. “I think we are a certain brand of crazy, to put it kindly, but we do this because we want to help, and it is worth every second of it.”

Doctor says surrogates are ‘vulnerable’ 

Kingdom said any IVF pregnancy is complicated right from the start, and it’s even more risky for surrogates, for a variety of reasons.

“IVF is an unnatural mode of conception,” he said. Surrogates are being implanted with genetic material that is completely foreign to their body, and this can cause higher-risk pregnancies and potential complications.

Dr. John Kingdom, a high risk obstetrician, says the lack of medical standards for surrogacies is leaving women vulnerable and open to risk. (Sue Goodspeed/CBC)

Kingdom said the risks of IVF are compounded for surrogates because these women are often older, and since they’ve likely had multiple births, there is a greater chance they’ve had at least one C-section.

General guidelines from the Society of Obstetrics and Gynecologists suggest women should wait a minimum of six months after a natural birth before embarking on another pregnancy — longer if the previous pregnancy ended in a C-section. However, the society does not establish mandatory guidelines specific to surrogate pregnancies.   

Since most surrogacies are managed through the private fertility industry, Kingdom said there should be mandatory pre-pregnancy counselling built into the process.

Counselling might result “in a decision not to be a surrogate, or to delay it for further investigations or to reflect more carefully on whether they really want to embark on those risks,” said Kingdom. “That’s what informed choice is, and really, every woman in this country deserves a really good, informed choice.”

Health Canada is responsible for administering and enforcing the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, the legislation that governs surrogacy. The agency says the AHRA does not provide the authority to prescribe the amount of time a surrogate must wait between giving birth and having an embryo transfer.

Determining whether a woman is medically fit to undergo a transfer is a medical decision, which Health Canada says is regulated by the provinces and territories.

Surrogates aren’t ‘breed mares’ 

Dr. Tom Hannam, the lead doctor and founder of Hannam Fertility in Toronto, said in the absence of a national medical standard for surrogacy pregnancies, his clinic has established its own standard of a nine- to 10-month wait period between a surrogate birth and a subsequent embryo transfer. 

“If you were going to have shorter wait times, it would be incumbent on you as a clinician doing the extra work with the individuals involved to make sure that was really the right choice for everyone involved,” Hannam said. 

“Choosing to get pregnant again just four months after that is a big choice — one that is being made with a series of choices all at the same time. Sometimes a pause is the more appropriate course of action.” 

As Roberts awaits her surgery this summer, she’s advocating that surrogates become better informed about the risks of back-to-back pregnancies. 

“As unfortunate as the term may sound, surrogacy is an industry,” Roberts said. “It’s insensitive not to consider what the surrogates go through. They’re not breed mares — we’re people.”

Send tips on this story to chelsea.gomez@cbc.ca or call 416-475-5778


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Simon Whitfield credits play with pals for putting him on road to Olympic Hall

When discussing his Olympic dream, Simon Whitfield often circles back to playing pick-up road hockey with five neighbourhood buddies in the 1980s on Cooper Street in Kingston, Ont., where a pothole served as the centre-ice dot.

Whether it was there or a couple of blocks away on the frozen water of Lake Ontario, this is where the Canadian triathlete’s path to Olympic stardom began.

“It bred in me this love of play, pick-up sport and community,” Whitfield told CBC Sports on Wednesday before he was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame along with six others and two teams at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

While his friends went on to become bankers, musicians and tree surveyors, Whitfield made history in his Summer Games debut in Sydney, where he unexpectedly became the first-ever Olympic champion in men’s triathlon in 2000.

Whitfield, who was 25 at the time, sat in 25th place after the 1,500-metre swim and 40-kilometre bike race. He unleashed a devastating kick in the 10K and passed his friend Stephan Vuckovic of Germany with about 200 metres left and crossed the finish line first in 30 minutes 52 seconds.

14 World Cup victories

“I just had this mission and internal belief,” Whitfield, now 44, said. “When I [took the lead] I thought, ‘Here I am, leading at the Olympic Games.’ I had a real love for doing it, enjoyed being there and wasn’t consumed with all the pressure.”

The 2008 Olympic silver medallist told a story of when he was a youngster and beat the older brother of one of his friends on a race around the block riding a banana-seat bike. His friends wondered if Whitfield had cheated and taken a shortcut through an alleyway but he said it was legit.

“I remember thinking I was good at it and that translates, years later, to be that seed in a young kid’s head, and those people in that legacy end up here today [in the Hall of Fame],” said Whitfield, the 2002 and 2009 Commonwealth Games champion who also had 14 World Cup victories and eight top-10 finishes at the world championships before retiring at 38 in 2013.

Whitfield remembers watching the Olympics with his parents as a child and among his early recollections was Canada’s Dave Steen winning a bronze medal in decathlon at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea.

“I wanted to hear the [Canadian] anthem and see the flag flying,” he said. “My parents never asked how [my sister and I] did in sports. They just asked, ‘Did you give a great effort today?’ It was a key in my development that I’ve passed on to my daughters Pippa and Evelyn.”

At the beginning of his acceptance speech, Whitfield deviated from sports, calling on Canadian politicians to expand the Canadian Trans Mountain pipeline, a controversial project in Alberta and British Columbia.

“Please work together on behalf of Canadians towards ensuring effective and affordable use of our micro resource endowments,” Whitfield said. “Let this effort be guided and governed by local communities, Indigenous peoples with oversight from senior levels of government.”

WATCH | Simon Whitfield calls for Trans Mountain pipeline expansion:

During his acceptance speech at the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame induction, Olympic champion triathlete Simon Whitfield implored Canadian politicians to expand the Canadian Trans Mountain pipeline. 3:00

The 2019 class also includes:

  • Alexandre Despatie (Diving: 2-time Olympic silver medallist)
  • Christine Girard (Weightlifting: 2012 Olympic gold medallist, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist)
  • Emilie Heymans (Diving: First Canadian summer Olympian to win medals at four consecutive Olympics)
  • Women’s 2010 Olympic hockey gold medallists
  • Women’s 2012 Olympic soccer bronze medallis
  • Hiroshi Nakamura (Judo coach)
  • Jack Poole (Builder: Largely responsible for landing 2010 Vancouver Olympics)
  • Randy Starkman (Builder: Late Toronto Star writer)

The individual inductees will be commemorated with murals painted in their honour that will appear in their respective local communities across Canada. 

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Taylor Swift Regrets Putting Ex Joe Jonas ‘On Blast’ When She Was a Teenager

Taylor Swift Regrets Putting Ex Joe Jonas ‘On Blast’ When She Was a Teenager | Entertainment Tonight

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Lack of progress on climate change is putting Canadians' health at risk, doctors say

A new report from one of the world's most prestigious medical journals says Canada's failure to cut greenhouse-gas emissions isn't just killing the planet; it's killing Canadians.

The report on the health impacts of climate change, published Wednesday in The Lancet, concludes that successfully tackling climate change would be the single biggest thing governments can do to improve human health this century.

Chronic exposure to air pollution from greenhouse-gas-emitting activities is contributing to the deaths of an estimated 7,142 Canadians a year, and 2.1 million people worldwide, the report said. 

Heat waves, forest fires, flooding and major storms are causing more deaths and long-term illnesses but little data is available on how many.

The first recommendation in the report is simply to track the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths in Canada, something that isn't done at all in most provinces.

Last summer, public-health officials in Quebec said 90 people died during a heat wave. Southern and eastern Ontario suffered the same heat but Ontario doesn't track heat-related deaths the same way, so nobody knew how many people had been affected in the province next door.

Dr. Courtney Howard, an emergency physician from Yellowknife who wrote the Canadian section of the report, said right now the world is on pace for temperature increases we can't adapt to, resulting in more deaths and disease.

The world's average surface temperature is already about 1 C warmer than it was in the pre-industrial era, and if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at present levels, the increase will be between 2.6 C and 4.8 C by the end of the century, she said. 

Dr. Courtney Howard, an emergency physician in Yellowknife and lead author of the Canadian section of the Lancet report, says climate change is taking a toll on the country's health-care system. (The Canadian Medical Association)

"We're not sure we can adapt to that in a way where we can maintain the same civilizational stability and health-care systems we're used to," said Howard.

"We're talking about not just maintaining disease levels, we're talking about our ability to provide health care."

Fine particles of pollutants in the air cause premature deaths from heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, acute respiratory infections and chronic lung disease. More frequent heat waves contribute to heat stroke and more intense pollen seasons, which can aggravate allergies and asthma, as can forest fires.

Warmer temperatures are also helping insects thrive, which means more bug-borne illnesses. The incidence of Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks, went up 50 per cent in 2017 alone.

Howard said a new term emerging among mental-health professionals is "eco-anxiety," describing mental stress caused by climate-related changes — or even just the threat they might occur.

Public-health officials are going to have to adapt their responses to dangers such as forest fires, because the increased intensity and frequency of the fires means more communities have bad air for far longer, Howard said.

Most health authorities will advise people to stay indoors on smoky days, but when those periods last for weeks, that is not a sustainable solution.

'This is an emergency'

In San Francisco this month, smoke from wild fires made the air some of the most dangerous in the world. Doctors told people to stay in, and to wear masks if they absolutely had to go outdoors.

Howard said work is underway to improve smoke forecasting, so people can be told when they can expect to go outdoors and get exercise and sunlight safely during extended smoke warnings.

Climate change leads to more wildfires, heat waves, flooding and other disasters which in turn affect people's health, according to The Lancet report. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

She said the last few summers have alerted Canadians to what climate change is going to look like, with record-breaking forest-fire seasons in British Columbia in both 2017 and 2018, drought on the Prairies, heat waves in central Canada, and flooding in communities almost from coast to coast. She said some people think this is a new normal — but it's not.

"It's going to be worse in 10 years," she said.

Howard said if we don't step up our efforts, the change to the world will be massive, including more wars and migration.

"I'm an emergency doctor and I'm working on this because this is an emergency," she said.

Both the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Public Health Association say they agree with the Lancet's findings and recommendations. 

"Health care professionals see first-hand the devastating health impacts of our changing climate," said Dr. Gigi Osler, president of the Canadian Medical Association, in a statement.

"From wildfires to heat waves to new infectious diseases, we're already treating the health effects of climate change," she said.

"This is the public health imperative of our time." 

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Trump endorses Romney, putting aside past bickering

President Donald Trump is endorsing Mitt Romney in Utah’s Senate race, another sign that the two Republicans are burying the hatchet after a fraught relationship.

The GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012, Romney announced last week he would seek the nomination to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch. In a tweet Monday night, Trump wrote, “He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!”

Romney quickly accepted the endorsement with thanks via Twitter.

Trump has not always been so positive about Romney the political candidate. In 2016 Trump said the former Massachusetts governor had “choked like a dog” during his failed 2012 bid against President Barack Obama.

For his part, Romney gave a scathing critique of then-candidate Trump during the GOP primary that year, calling him a “phoney” who was unfit for office. More recently, Romney criticized Trump’s response to last year’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and last month called Trump’s use of an obscenity to describe African countries as inconsistent with American history and values.

Romney thinks local in campaign launch

Members of both political parties have suggested that Romney, if elected to the Senate, would continue to call out Trump if he believed the president warranted criticism. However, Romney did not mention Trump or his scandal-plagued administration in his campaign announcement on Friday, focusing instead on how his adopted state of Utah could be a model for better government in Washington.

Asked Friday if he would seek or accept Trump’s endorsement, Romney demurred but said they had talked on the phone two or three times in recent months and had a cordial and respectful relationship.

Within minutes of Trump’s tweet Monday night, Romney sent one of his own: “Thank you Mr. President for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah.”

Despite the past bickering, the support is not particularly surprising. Trump, struggling in most opinion polls and a special counsel Russia investigation handing over his administration, needs every edge he can muster to try and ensure Republicans retain control of the Senate in the November midterms.

The Republicans need to defend just eight seats in the chamber, while Democrats have to retain 26 seats, including two held by independents, in midterm and special elections this year.

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