On Sunday, Howard W. Jones, M.D., the man responsible for the first in vitro fertilization (IVF) baby in the United States, will turn 102. And he's also be celebrating the publication of his latest book: "Personhood Revisited: Reproductive Technology, Bioethics, Religion and the Law."
Dr. Jones and his wife, Georgeanna Seegar Jones who died in 2005, worked together at Eastern Virginia Medical Schoo. and created the country's first IVF program. Through their efforts, Elizabeth Carr, who changed her last name to Comeau, was the first IVF baby born in the United States in 1981.
Dr. Jones no longer sees patients, but he continues to work at the Jones Institute of Reproductive Medicine, go to conferences and write books. Last February he lobbied against the "personhood bill," which would have written that life begins at conception into state law.
Dr. Jones told legislators that personhood could interfere with infertility treatment and endanger women's health. The legislation passed the House, but not the Senate.
Controversy is nothing new to Dr. Jones. In his recent book, he recounts the early struggles of IVF, with his initial attempts to open the fertility clinic failing because abortion opponents worried about the destruction of unused embryos. Even once it did open, there were picketers trying to block patients from entering.
The Joneses had 41 failures before they found success. And today, thanks tot he efforts of IVF pioneers like Dr. Jones, IVF is routinely used with much success a mere 32 years later.
Happy Birthday Dr. Jones!
December 28, 2012
Posted by Leigh Ann Woodruff