Landrum Shettles

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Landrum Brewer Shettles
Born (1909-11-21)November 21, 1909
Pontotoc, Mississippi
Died February 6, 2003(2003-02-06) (aged 93)
St. Petersburg, Florida
Citizenship United States
Occupation Biologist
Known for In vitro fertilization
Spouse(s) Priscilla Elinor Schmidt (divorced)

Landrum Brewer Shettles (November 21, 1909 – February 6, 2003) was a father of vitro fertilization.[1]


He was born on November 21, 1909 in Pontotoc, Mississippi. He graduated from Mississippi College in 1933. He was awarded a Ph.D. in biology and an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He served in the United States Army Medical Corps from 1944 to 1946.[1]

In 1951, he reproduced the experience of John Rock and Miriam Menkin artificially fertilizing eggs. In 1954, he received the annual Markle Prize, from Columbia University.[2]

Shettles developed a method to maximize the probability of having a baby of the sex of the parents' choice. Using his "Shettles Method," couples who wanted to have a male baby should time intercourse as close as possible to ovulation to allow the faster Y-bearing sperm to reach the egg first. Couples desiring a female should time intercourse to take place about three days prior to ovulation, when the pH of the vagina is more acidic and thus more hostile to the faster but less bulky Y-bearing sperm, and therefore favoring the bulkier X-bearing sperm on a small level.[3]

In 1973, he was involved with an IVF controversy, the Del-Zio case, at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York.[4] After he resigned from the hospital, he moved to Vermont where he worked at Gifford Medical Center, Randolph, Vermont on cloning. He then moved to Las Vegas to resume work on cloning. He retired from Sunrise Hospital, Las Vegas, Nevada in 2000 and moved to Florida.[1][4]

He died on February 6, 2003 in St. Petersburg, Florida.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Stuart Lavietes (February 16, 2003). "Dr. L. B. Shettles, 93, Pioneer in Human Fertility". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-26. Dr. Landrum B. Shettles, an early developer of in vitro fertilization techniques who gained national attention as the author of How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby and as a central figure in a lawsuit over efforts to produce the first test tube baby, died on Feb. 6 in St. Petersburg, Fla. He was 93. ... 
  2. ^ "Landrum Shettles . Test Tube Babies. WGBH American Experience | PBS". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  3. ^;jsessionid=A4016362602794877436890F0C76063C.f03t01.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b Robin Marantz Henig (December 28, 2003). "The Lives They Lived: Landrum Shettles". The New York Times.