Oh, Baby

IVF produces the country's first little bundle right in Norfolk.

Invitro Fertilization Births Have Skyrocketed

The numbers are astounding— more than four million people worldwide, about 250,000 in the United States and almost 4,000 right here in Hampton Roads. Indeed, there’s a good shot a handful of you reading this column count yourselves among them. And to think, 35 years ago, there was nary a one. What are these figures? The numbers of people who are here because of work pioneered in our own back yard: in vitro fertilization.

Infertility can have a number of causes, and one way to get around some of those issues is using in vitro fertilization, or IVF. This procedure allows doctors to unite sperm and egg outside of a woman’s body and implant the developing embryos later, giving folks with fertility obstacles much better odds of becoming pregnant.

It’s not unreasonable to attribute many of the successful IVF births that have occurred throughout the past 30 years to the vision and hard work of Dr. Howard Jones, Jr. and his late wife, Dr. Georgeanna Seegar Jones. The couple moved to Norfolk in 1978 after retiring from Johns Hopkins University, where they had long and distinguished careers at the medical school there.