Definitions

seegar

Georgeanna Seegar Jones

Georgeanna Seegar Jones (July 6, 1912March 26, 2005) was part of the husband and wife team which pioneered in vitro fertilization in the United States.

She was one of the United States first reproductive endocrinologists. She is best known for her work with in vitro fertilization, but is also credited with numerous other discoveries, one of which allowed women, with a history of miscarriages, to carry their children full term and has also authored over 350 scientific papers on reproduction.

Birth

She was born July 6, 1912, and obtained her B.A. from Goucher College and later obtained her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1936. She become the director of Johns Hopkin's Laboratory of Reproductive Physiology and was the Gynecologist-in-Charge of the hospitals gynecologic endocrinology clinic in 1939.

As a resident at Johns Hopkin's she discovered that the pregnancy hormone hCG was manufactured by the placenta, not the pituitary gland as originally thought. This discovery has led the development of many of the early over-the-counter pregnancy test kits currently available. Dr. Jones is also credited with using progesterone to treat women with a history of miscarriages, thus allowing many of them to not only conceive, but deliver healthy babies.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

She continued working in reproductive medicine until the 1970's, when John's Hopkin's enforced their mandatory retirement clause which forced both Dr. Jones and her husband out of the hospital. Dr. Jones and her husband moved to Norfolk where the intended to teach at the newly founded Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Shortly after their arrival in Virginia, the world was shocked by the announcement of the world's first in vitro fertilization birth in 1978 by a British team of doctors and scientists.

Dr. Jones and her husband began work on the first IVF project in the United States, funded primarily by a $5000 grant. On December 28, 1981, their work culminated in the first US IVF birth; the third IVF birth in the world but importantly the first to use controlled ovarian hyperstimulation. The birth of Elizabeth Carr, the first American "test tube baby" helped change the lives of many women who, prior to IVF were unable to conceive.

Controversies

The majority of the concerns regarding the work of Dr. Jones were with the IVF program itself. Many anti-abortion activists were horrified that the IVF process created multiple embryos when only a few would be actually be utilized: the others would be frozen or destroyed.

References

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