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Archive for the ‘Dr. Howard and Georgeanna Jones’ tag

“Unsung hero to LGBT community” Dr. Howard W. Jones Jr., the Father of Fertility

By David Kreiner, MD

August 23rd, 2017 at 11:04 am

 

Dr.David Kreiner with Drs. Georgeanna Jones and Howard W. Jones, Jr.


You may already know that Dr. Howard W. Jones, Jr. was the doctor responsible for the birth of America’s first in vitro fertilization “IVF” baby in 1981. IVF and its related technology is the therapy used most often in LGBT family-building.

But you probably didn’t know that the “Father of Fertility” also did ground-breaking work in another medical area that would impact the lives of those in the LGBT community? Work that might raise some eyebrows today, but was positively unfathomable in the 1960s. Let me tell you more about my fascinating mentor.

I first met Howard W. Jones Jr, when I was 29 years old while still an obstetrics and gynecology resident in 1984.  It is now two years since his passing at the age of 104 and his legacy lives on growing greater with each passing year.

He interviewed me back then for a fellowship position in Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility and IVF at the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Va., the first successful IVF center in the Western Hemisphere.  I was in awe of this 74-year-old statesman of the Infertility world.  He was after all famous in the field even before America’s first IVF baby, Elizabeth Carr, was delivered on Dec. 28, 1981 — that first IVF success that Howard W. Jones Jr. and his wife Georgeanna were responsible for in the United States.

I have aspired to live my life and career as the mentor and man I knew as “Dr. Howard” had taught me.  As such, I have been active in the fertility world of the LGBT community, building your families for decades. In addition, my “LGBT Family Building New York” Facebook page is an endeavor I have undertaken to increase awareness. I also enjoy the partnership between Long Island IVF and the LGBT Network on Long Island which serves to improve access to and increase awareness of quality family-building treatment options for the LGBT community.

Dr. Howard was the ultimate medical scientist who did not have a social agenda or prejudice… only an inclination to help all those whom he was capable of helping and if there was not an established way to do so, he worked tirelessly to pave the way.

In the 1960′s– before the general public was aware of what transgender was– Dr. Howard opened the first gender reassignment surgery clinic in the U.S.  For him, this was a way he could utilize his skills learned from performing work on children with ambiguous genitalia to helping those whose gender identities differed from their appearances.

When Dr. Howard established the first successful IVF program west of the Atlantic he did not limit the technology to the married heterosexual couple.  It was his vision that if an individual or couple was in need and desired to start a family that he could offer the latest advances in medicine to assist them.

Remarkably, Dr. Howard was 70 years old when he succeeded with America’s first IVF success.  Rather than accept the retirement his former employer, Johns Hopkins University, had imposed on him due to age, Dr. Howard embarked on arguably the most significant project of his life…IVF.

As I just begin to enter the twilight years of my professional career I look at the accomplishments of my mentor and realize that there is still much good to accomplish.  For me, among other things that means continuing my commitment to making available family building to those in the LGBT community and in so doing perpetuating the legacy of groundbreaking reproductive assistance that was started by the “Father of Fertility”, Dr. Howard W. Jones. Jr.

I encourage all members of the LGBT community who long for a family of their own to meet me and some of the medical staff of Long Island IVF and reproductive attorney, Amy Demma, at our upcoming free event “Building Families in the LGBT Community”, held in conjunction with the LGBT Network at the Center at Bay Shore at 34 Park Avenue, Bay Shore, NY 11706 on October 26, 2017. Register here now.

 

 

 

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Long Island IVF Podcast: Journey to the Crib Ch.1: Welcome

By David Kreiner MD

February 11th, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Welcome to the Journey To the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  You, the viewer, are invited to ask questions and make comments. You can access the podcast for this Chapter 1 here: http://podcast.longislandivf.com/?p=16

The first chapter introduces the reader to the writer, me, and my early experiences in the field of reproductive endocrinology, infertility and IVF.  This was during the early years of IVF and I was a new doctor driven by a passion for fertility; the science, the surgery and the new technology of in vitro fertilization.

I dedicated the book to my parents who were still alive when it was published.  They taught me the importance of family as it was the most precious commodity they owned.  My father recently passed but he was excited and proud of the work his son did even if he suggested making more revisions to my original drafts than I wanted to hear.  My mother, who suffered a ruptured cerebral aneurysm twenty five years ago and as a result has significant cognitive issues, remains my biggest fan.

It was with great anticipation that I sent to my mentor, Dr. Howard W. Jones Jr., this first chapter as much of it describes my impressions of him and his wife, Georgeanna Seegar Jones, the American pioneers in In vitro fertilization.  Today, he is 101 years old and remains the sharpest individual I have ever met.  I am proud to say that he was touched and impressed with my memories as I recorded them.

If you have not had the opportunity to hear him speak, please do yourself a favor and listen to any one of many videos recorded of him.  “Dr. Howard” describes how he initiated his efforts to develop the first IVF program in the U.S. on http://vimeo.com/asrm/howardjones .

I have a YouTube video discussing this pioneering couple at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b790aiFLzJI&feature=related

If you have time, Dr. Howard gives an exceptional speech on the future of fertility on http://vimeo.com/17418251 .  He starts speaking about 19 minutes into the video.

The reproductive endocrinologist who had the greatest impact on my career was Dr. Zev Rosenwaks.  I unfortunately did not sufficiently credit him with the huge influence he had on my career and in shaping the physician that I have become.  As Zev was a fellow of both Joneses at Johns Hopkins and I was a fellow of his, it is this family of Reproductive Endocrinology from which my career was born.  There is not a thing that I do in practice today that cannot be traced back to Zev or Drs. Howard and Georgeanna or to any of the other fertility giants that were in Norfolk in those days including Suheil Muasher, Mason Andrews, Annibal Acosta, Gary Hodgen, Sergio Oehninger and Richard Scott.

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Do you have any questions about this podcast? Dr. Kreiner would be happy to answer them. Please tune in weekly as we continue to cover Dr. Kreiner’s  book, Journey to the Crib, chapter by chapter. Back by popular demand.

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Cryopreservation: Peeking in the IVF Freezer

By Tracey Minella and David Kreiner MD

April 8th, 2011 at 12:00 am

Remember the Good Humor man? You’d hear that sound from blocks away and bolt out the door barefoot, shrieking “STAAAPPP!”, arms flailing like you were trying to get the bathroom pass from the teacher, and being joined by the rest of the block like rats to the Pied Piper. Remember the way the white square door with the chunky silver hinge on the back swung open and all that cold, smoky fog billowed out into the humid air?

Remember the frozen magic inside?

Well, East Coast Fertility has a magic freezer, too. Full of dreams. Full of potential. Full of embryos that may one day turn out to be rugrats running after the ice cream man. Below, Dr. Kreiner lets us take a peek inside ECF’s cryopreservation program:

In 1985, my mentors, Drs. Howard W. Jones Jr. and his wife Georgeanna Seegar Jones, the two pioneers of in-vitro fertilization in the USA and the entire western hemisphere, proposed the potential benefits of cryopreserving or freezing embryos following an IVF cycle. They predicted that cryopreserving embryos for future transfers would increase the overall success rate of IVF and make the procedure more efficient and cost effective. They also suggested that it would reduce the overall risks of IVF. For example, one fresh IVF cycle might yield many embryos which can be used in future frozen embryo transfer cycles, if necessary. This helps to limit the exposure to certain risks confronted only in a fresh IVF cycle such as the use of injectable stimulation hormones, the egg retrieval operation, and general anesthesia.

At East Coast Fertility, we are realizing the Jones’ dream of safer, more efficient and cost effective IVF. By utilizing the ability to cryopreserve embryos in 2007, 61.5% (118/192) of patients under 35 were successful in having a live birth as a result of only one egg stimulation and retrieval cycle! In addition, because of our outstanding Embryology Laboratory, we are usually able to transfer as few as 1 or 2 high quality embryos per cycle and avoid risky triplet pregnancies. In fact, since 2002, the only triplet pregnancies we have experienced have resulted from the successful implantation of two embryos, one of which goes on to split into identical twins (this is rare!). By cryopreserving embryos in certain high-risk circumstances, we are able to vastly reduce the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome requiring hospitalization. At East Coast Fertility, safety of our patients comes first. Fortunately, our success with frozen embryo transfers is equivalent to that of fresh embryo transfers, so that pregnancy rates are not compromised in the name of safety, nor are the babies.

Today, as reported in the Daily Science: “The results are good news as an increasing number of children, estimated to be 25% of assisted reproductive technology (ART) babies worldwide, are now born after freezing or vitrification” (a process similar to freezing that prevents the formation of ice crystals).

The study, led by Dr Ulla-Britt Wennerholm, an obstetrician at the Institute for Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy (Goteborg, Sweden), reviewed the evidence from 21 controlled studies that reported on prenatal or child outcomes after freezing or vitrification.

She found that embryos that had been frozen shortly after they started to divide (early stage cleavage embryos) had a better, or at least as good, obstetric outcome (measured as preterm birth and low birth weight) as children born from fresh cycles of IVF (in vitro fertilization) or ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). There were comparable malformation rates between the fresh and frozen cycles. There were limited data available for freezing of blastocysts (embryos that have developed for about five days) and for vitrification of early cleavage stage embryos, blastocysts and eggs.

‘Slow freezing of embryos has been used for 25 years and data concerning infant outcome seem reassuring with even higher birthweights and lower rates of preterm and low birthweights than children born after fresh IVF/ICSI. For the newly introduced technique of vitrification of blastocysts and oocytes, very limited data have been reported on obstetric and neonatal outcomes. This emphasises the urgent need for properly controlled follow-up studies of neonatal outcomes and a careful assessment of evidence currently available before these techniques are added to daily routines. In addition, long-term follow-up studies are needed for all cryopreservation techniques,’ concluded Dr Wennerholm.

The use of frozen embryos has become a common standard of care in most IVF Programs. At East Coast Fertility we are able to keep multiple pregnancy rates down – by only transferring one or two embryos at a time – while allowing patients to hold on to the additional embryos that they may have created during the fresh cycle. It is like creating an insurance plan for patients. We developed a unique financial incentive program using the technology of cryopreservation to encourage patients to transfer only one healthy embryo at a time. In order to ensure the best outcome for mother and child – these special pricing plans take the burden off the patient to pay for the additional transfers and the cryopreservation process. We have eliminated the cost of cryopreservation, storage and embryo transfer for patients in the single embryo transfer program. Thus, patients no longer have that financial pressure to put all their eggs in one basket! We truly believe we are practicing the most successful, safe and cost effective IVF utilizing cryopreservation.

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