Friday, January 06, 2006

It was a "DUH" moment

I bought myself this funny little desk calendar this year- "The DUH! Awards". Every day I get some little tidbit of knowledge about somebody's DUHness. Fortunately, I haven't made the calendar yet. But this guy did:

In the 1970's, Dr. Landrum Shettles was working on some earth-shattering research at Columbia University: in-vitro fertilization. This concept is widely used today, and many couples have experienced parenthood as a result. However, the head of the research department at Columbia did not share Dr. Shettles' excitement over the new technology. When he found out that Dr. Shettles was trying to create the first test tube baby, he entered the lab and opened the sealed containers so that the fertilized eggs could not be implanted.

Dr. Shettles continued his research anyway, as did many other pioneering doctors across the country. The first, Louise Joy Brown, was born on July 25, 1978. Although Dr. Shettles did much of the early research, the doctors who "created" Louise get all the credit for in-vitro fertilization. If the head of research at Columbia hadn't got on his moral high horse and destroyed Dr. Shettles work, perhaps the first test-tube baby would have been born earlier, and attributed to Dr. Shettles instead of Drs. Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards. Since that first baby, millions of "test tube babies" have been born- including the twins across the street from me.


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