Their pioneering efforts led to the birth of Elizabeth Jordan Carr. News of their success received excellent coverage by the media. American society heard announcements about the successful use of the IVF techniques, and then growing numbers of Americans wanted to see if they could “keep up with the Jones.”
The demand for a greater availability of IVF techniques fueled the push for traditional surrogacy. That push then led to the creation of growing numbers of surrogacy agencies. Yet none of the above changes would have occurred without the tireless efforts of Georgeanna and Howard Jones.
The tireless efforts that paved the way for traditional surrogacy might be seen as an early attempt to redefine retirement. Those efforts were made possible by a couple of physicians who had completed a noteworthy career at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Before they could retire in comfort, two physicians in Great Britain announced the birth of the world’s first “test tube baby.”
Now at a news conference following that announcement, a reporter asked Dr. Howard Jones if such a procedure could be carried out in the United States. Dr. Jones said that it could certainly be accomplished, if researchers had access to sufficient funds. Not long after that, a former patient of Dr. Georgeanna Jones offered the Joneses money, money for pursuing research on in vitro fertilization.
Using that money, the Joneses set up a research center at the Virginia Medical School. They called their center the Jones Institute for Reproductive Research. Soon thousands of families flocked to that center, hoping to participate in the growing use of traditional surrogacy.
The Joneses developed in the United States the technology that had been successful in Great Britain. They provided American childless couples with a new option. Thanks to the Joneses, those couples could look into the procedure known as in vitro fertilization. Once a woman’s egg had been combined in a Petri dish with a specific sperm, then the couple could, if necessary look for a surrogate mother.
It was the growing demand for surrogate mothers that led to the appearance of many surrogacy agencies. Such agencies could handle any of the legal or other problems that might arise following a decision to use a surrogate mother. Such agencies also served as a source of medical records on both the parents and the surrogate mothers.
The growth of such agencies underscored the degree to which experts on reproductive health required at least some familiarity with basic legal issues. The frozen embryos stored at such agencies have an undecided fate. Their existence has helped to fuel the controversy over stem cell research.