Georgeanna Seegar Jones

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Georgeanna Seegar Jones
Georgeanna Seegar Jones Portrait.jpg
Born(1912-07-06)July 6, 1912
DiedMarch 26, 2005(2005-03-26) (aged 92)
EducationGoucher College (B.A.)
Johns Hopkins University (M.D.)
Known forPioneering in-vitro fertilization
Scientific career
InstitutionsJohns Hopkins University

Georgeanna Seegar Jones (July 6, 1912 – March 26, 2005) was an American reproductive endocrinologist who with her husband, Howard W. Jones, pioneered in vitro fertilization in the United States.[1]

Early life[edit]

She was born July 6, 1912, in Baltimore, Maryland, to J. King Seegar. Her father was a obstetrician, one of the many things that led to Seegar Jones's interest in medicine from a young age.[2] She was raised along with two siblings. She received her bachelor's degree in 1932 from Goucher College and continued to pursue her medical career at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.[2] Four years later, 1936, she got her official medical degree (MD).[2] She completed her training as a house gynecology officer and an acting member of the National Cancer Institute.[2] While attending medical school she met her husband, Howard W. Jones, Jr., whom she married in 1940.[2] Reproductive endocrinology was not yet a subspecialty, in fact, her and her husband's accomplishments have contributed to the successful reproductive endocrinology programs that are offered at Johns Hopkins.[2]


As a resident at Johns Hopkins, she discovered that the common pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, hCG was produced by the placenta, not the pituitary gland as originally thought.[3][4] Thus leading to the development of the hCG pregnancy test that are currently on the market. By the late 1940's Jones had a copious amount of experience with studying infertility in couples, using endocrinological techniques. At this time, there was no substantial research on endocrinology and the link to infertility so Jones submitted an article of her findings to the American Medical Association titled "Some Newer Aspects of the Management of Infertility".[5] Within this article was the advancements she has made studying the luteal phase defect, a term which Jones is responsible for. In 1949, Jones made the first description of Luteal Phase Dysfunction and is credited to be the first in using progesterone to treat women with a history of miscarriages, thus allowing many of them to not only conceive, but to deliver healthy babies.[6] The pregnanediol technique was developed by Jones along with other Hopkins members. Conclusions drawn from her individual research showed that low progesterone levels lead to low preganediol levels and provide a greater risk for infertility.[5][7]

She became the director of Johns Hopkins' Laboratory of Reproductive Physiology and was the Gynecologist-in-Charge of the hospital's gynecologic endocrinology clinic in 1939. She married Howard W. Jones while at Johns Hopkins and they had three children.

Later life[edit]

In 1969, Seegar Jones began to identify and examine what is now known as ovarian resistance syndrome.[7] She demonstrated that stimulation of menopausal gonadotropin leads to the increase in number of eggs that are available and viable for vitro fertilization.[8] In 1978, the same year that UK scientists were successful with in vitro fertilization, the Joneses took an opportunity from EVMS and moved to Norfolk, Virginia to create an IVF program in the United States. This was after the birth of the first test tube baby in the world, Louise Joy Brown, on July 25, 1978, in England.[1] The Joneses created their own IVF program at EVMS. On December 28, 1981, their procedure gave birth to Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American test tube baby.

Jones died on March 26, 2005, in Portsmouth, Virginia.[1]


Dr. Seegar Jones was awarded the Distinguished Service Award Medal from the Cosmopolitan Club of Norfolk in 1988 for the advancements she made to in vitro fertilization. She is also a recipient of the Dean's Outstanding Faculty Award from Eastern Virginia Medical School, 1996; and in 1997, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Johns Hopkins University, also for her contributions to reproductive endocrinology and success she made with IVF. Five years prior to her passing, 2000, she received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Gynecologic Investigation.[9]

She was one of the first in her field to train medical students, residents and fellows for several schools. Her dedication to bettering the physician generations below her paved the way of academic medicine.[2] One of the many reason why Dr. Seegar Jones is so distinguished and honored in her field. She was named the first woman President of the American Fertility Society in 1970.[2] One of the reasons she was honored with this title is because her work with fertility prompted women to control their future.


  1. ^ a b c Anahad O'Connor (March 28, 2005). "Georgeanna S. Jones, in vitro conception pioneer, dies at 92". New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2011. Dr. Georgeanna S. Jones, who was half of a husband-and-wife team that created the first program for in vitro fertilization in the United States and its first "test tube" baby, died on Saturday at a hospital in Norfolk, Va. She was 92 and lived in Portsmouth, Va.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Damewood, Marian D.; Rock, John A. (2005-08-01). "In memoriam: Georgeanna Seegar Jones, M.D.: her legacy lives on". Fertility and Sterility. 84 (2): 541–542. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.04.019. ISSN 0015-0282. PMID 16363033.
  3. ^ Gey, G. O.; Seegar, G. E.; Hellman, L. M. (September 30, 1938). "The Production of a Gonadotrophic Substance (Prolan) by Placental Cells in Tissue Culture". Science. 88 (2283): 306–307. Bibcode:1938Sci....88..306G. doi:10.1126/science.88.2283.306. PMID 17843374.
  4. ^ Epstein, Randi (2018). Aroused : the history of hormones and how they control just about everything (First ed.). W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393239607.
  5. ^ a b Scientific Foundations of Biochemistry in Clinical Practice. Elsevier. 1994. doi:10.1016/c2013-0-06500-0. ISBN 978-0-7506-0167-2.
  6. ^ Alderson, Thomas (December 9, 2016). "Luteal Phase Dysfunction". Medscape. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Brzyski, Robert G.; Jones, Georgeanna Seegar; Jones, Howard W.; Oehninger, Sergio; Muasher, Suheil J. (January 1991). "Alterations in luteal phase progesterone and estradiol production after leuprolide acetate therapy before ovarian stimulation for in vitro fertilization**Presented at the 45th Annual Meeting of The American Fertility Society, San Francisco, California, November 11 to 16, 1989". Fertility and Sterility. 55 (1): 119–124. doi:10.1016/S0015-0282(16)54070-9. PMID 1898886.
  8. ^ Schoemaker, Joop; Wentz, Anne Colston; Jones, Georgeanna Seegar; Dubin, Norman H.; Sapp, Karan C. (March 1978). "Stimulation of Follicular Growth With "Pure" FSH in Patients With Anovulation and Elevated LH Levels". Obstetrics & Gynecology. 51 (3): 270–277. doi:10.1097/00006250-197803000-00003. ISSN 0029-7844. PMID 628528.
  9. ^ "Georgeanna Seegar Jones and Howard W. Jones, Jr". Retrieved 2021-03-22.

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