Pictured above from left to right: Lesley Brown, Dr. Rosalyn Yalow, Dr. Georgeanna Seegar Jones, Jean Purdy, and Dr. Lucinda Veeck Gosden.
March is Women’s History Month! The world of reproductive medicine is filled with inspirational female pioneers who dared to be first! Here are some just to name a few!
Lesley Brown is the mother of the world’s first baby born from in vitro fertilization (IVF). Lesley and her husband, John, had been trying to conceive for nine years and faced complications due to blocked fallopian tubes. On July 25, 1978, in England, the couple welcomed their daughter, Louise Joy Brown, paving the way for millions of couples to have children via fertility treatment.
Dr. Rosalyn Yalow was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for her development of the RIA technique. This technique plays a big part in measuring hormones in the bloodstream and led to major advances in diagnosing and treating hormonal problems related to fertility.
Dr. Georgeanna Seegar Jones changed the face of medicine with her groundbreaking research. While still a medical student, she showed that the pregnancy hormone (now called chorionic gonadotropin) arose from the placenta rather than from the pituitary, as was previously believed. Together, with her husband, Dr. Howard Jones, they brought IVF to the United States. And in 1981, the first IVF baby in the U.S., Elizabeth Carr, was born at their center, the Jones Institute.
Jean Purdy, a nurse and the world’s first embryologist, has gone largely unrecognized for decades. Letters released reveal the continuous efforts of IVF pioneer, Dr. Robert Edwards, to honor his unsung female colleague, Jean Purdy. Drs. Edwards and Steptoe gained worldwide fame as the developers of in vitro fertilization. Jean Purdy played a crucial role when she observed that an embryo in a petri dish had divided into eight cells. This resulted in the conception and birth of Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first IVF baby in 1978, the first of millions of babies born in the world using IVF!
Dr. Lucinda Veeck Gosden was the first embryologist at the Jones Institute. She worked alongside Dr. Howard Jones as part of the original IVF team that welcomed Elizabeth Carr, the first IVF baby in the United States.
Judith Carr gets a first glimpse at her newborn baby girl, Elizabeth, the first baby born in the United States as the result of in vitro fertilization.
The tireless and brave work of these female pioneers in reproductive medicine led to the birth of two women who have continued their legacy by being infertility advocates, even all these years later.
On July 25, 1978, Louise Joy Brown was the first baby born into the world through IVF. Her birth brought about new hope for those facing infertility and marked the beginning of millions and millions of IVF procedures worldwide.
Just a few years later, in 1981, arriving in Norfolk, Virginia to parents Judith and Roger, Elizabeth Carr was born at a time when as few as five clinics in the entire country were performing IVF. Now, Elizabeth has a son of her own and is an advocate for infertility around the world.
Dr. Beatrice Mintz
Dr. Virginia Apgar
Dr. Beatrice Mintz was an embryologist who furthered the understanding of how cells influence the cells around them. Beatrice’s work was at the cutting edge at a time in which in order to study embryology, she had to invent the tools to do it. In order to study embryology, she made ‘multi-mice’ mixing embryos from white mice with embryos from black mice so she could study the parts of the embryo that contributed to the grown mouse.
Dr. Virginia Apgar was the first woman at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons to be named a full professor.
Quoted as saying, “Birth is the most hazardous time of life. It is urgently important to evaluate quickly the status of a just-born baby and to identify immediately those who need emergency care.” Dr. Virginia Apgar developed, presented, and published the Apgar Score in 1953 as a method to assess how well a baby has endured a delivery. The Apgar Score has since been used as the worldwide standard for babies born in hospitals all around the world.
Experiments conducted by Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider studied the telomere, a structure at the end of chromosomes that protects the chromosome. In 1984, Blackburn and Greider co-discovered telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes the telomere. For their research on telomeres and telomerase, Blackburn and Greider received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009.
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"I feel so lucky to have found RADfertility. I tried two other clinics before I expanded my search and found RADfertility. I drive an hour each way to go to them but I don’t regret a thing. They are so caring and so professional. Every time I message them they respond quickly. Every time I see them they have a friendly smile and warm welcome. They explain everything so well and I never feel lost in the process as I did elsewhere. They also took the time to figure out what was wrong. Other clinics threw up their hands, said 'I don’t know' and pushed me to try IVF."
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"My journey with RADfertility and Dr. McGuirk started when my husband and I were trying to conceive and were having difficulty. We went to RADfertility, where we met Dr. McGuirk. I always say she changed my life and 'fixed' me. Dr. McGuirk is always learning more about endometriosis and how to help her patients. She’s brilliant and truly cares for you! I’m eternally grateful to her and everyone at RADfertility for their unwavering support, love, and care."
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"RADfertility's staff has heart and provided me with exceptional health care. I knew I was in good hands and felt like we were in this together. The doctors and nursing staff always answered all of my questions and provided thorough information about all of my options. I am so fortunate and appreciative of the care that I received at RADfertility. They go above and beyond."
"I cannot begin to explain how wonderful RADfertility is. We were frustrated with trying to start a family and it not working for us. The entire team of doctors and nurses made us feel comfortable and hopeful that we would be parents. We experienced so many ups and downs but we never felt like we were on our IVF journey alone, we had our RADfertility team every step of the way. If you're looking for a supportive team on the IVF journey, look no further. RADfertility is the absolute best."
"Dr. Schillings always kept us informed and never gave up on us. She always explained our options and risks with each procedure. She called us personally when there were any issues or sensitive subjects to cover. Dr. Schillings was the first doctor that had answers for us and wanted to help us have our miracle baby!"
4735 Ogletown-Stanton Road
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Newark, DE 19713
Silverside Medical Center
2700 Silverside Road, Suite 2A
Wilmington, DE 19810
Eden Hill Medical Center
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Dover, DE 19904
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