Georgeanna Seegar Jones

Image: National Library of Medicine Birth: July 6, 1912 Death: March 26, 2005 Specialty: Medicine Major Contributions: Discovered that pregnancy hormone hCG was manufactured by the placenta First person to describe "luteal phase defect" in infertility Co-founder of first IVF clinic in the United States First person to identify and describe what has come to be called ovarian resistance syndrome

Image: National Library of Medicine
Birth: July 6, 1912
Death: March 26, 2005
Specialty: Medicine
Major Contributions:
Discovered that pregnancy hormone hCG was manufactured by the placenta
First person to describe “luteal phase defect” in infertility
Co-founder of first IVF clinic in the United States
First person to identify and describe what has come to be called ovarian resistance syndrome

Explore Further:



Listen:

Dr. Georgeanna Seegar Jones was a pioneer in the non-surgical treatment of infertility in women  and alongside her husband Dr. Howard Jones she founded the first IVF clinic in the United States.

As a medical student she was able to show that the pregnancy hormone, chorionic gonadotropin, came from the placenta rather than the current thinking that it was from the pituitary gland.  This discovery led to the over the counter early pregnancy tests that are still in use today.

In 1938, after earning her medical degree she was appointed gynecologist-in-charge at the Gynecological Endocrine Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital, as well as director of the Laboratory of Reproductive Physiology. As researcher in infertility treatments she was the first to describe the luteal phase defect, which occurs when the lining of the uterus doesn’t grow properly during the menstrual cycle and could lead to conception problems.

In 1978, as per Johns Hopkins policy at the time, Georgeanna was forced to retire at age 65 and the couple decided to move to Norfolk, Virginia to help a friend start the Eastern Virginia Medical School. As they were packing up to move the announcement of the first baby born from IVF was made and a reporter came by and asked them if it would be possible to have a similar clinic in the US.  Their answer was, “sure”, and after the story ran a former patient called them and offered the money to start this program and the clinic opened in March 1980.

Immediately overwhelmed with people wanting treatment the Joneses were unable to achieve success following the methods presented by the British scientists. Georgeanna decided to have the patients take strong fertility drugs to help them produce more eggs in a new style of treatment. December 1981 marked the birth of the first American baby born as a result of IVF treatment.

Two years later the Howard and Georgeanna Jones Institute for Reproductive Health was inaugurated. The Jones Institute has helped nearly 3,000 children be born and is still a pioneer in solutions to infertility.

Written by Angela Goad

Sources:

American Experience: Howard and Georgeanna Jones

Changing the Face of Medicine: Dr. Georgeanna Seegar Jones

Jones Foundation for Reproductive Medicine: Founders

See Also:

Jones Foundation for Reproductive Medicine

Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions: The Howard W. Jones, Jr. and Georgeanna Seegar Jones Collection

WebMD: Luteal Phase Defect