Professor Howard Jones, 1910-2015

It is with much sadness, but also with pride for having had the privilege to know him, that the Bertarelli Foundation reports the passing of Professor Howard Jones, who, together with his wife Professor Georgeanna Jones, was a pioneer of IVF in the USA. Professor Jones was 104.

The Professors Jones were the founders of the prestigious Norfolk IVF programme, which gave birth to the first IVF baby in the US, Elizabeth Carr. Their programme flourished and, as well as its breakthroughs in reproductive medicine, crucially trained many specialists who went on to start their own, successful IVF programmes around the world. Their contribution to reproductive science and to families around the world cannot be underestimated.

Professor Jones was, for many years, a Board member of the Bertarelli Foundation during its focus on fertility and – a field he was an expert in – knowledge transfer. In 2002 he and his wife were awarded the Bertarelli Foundation Award in Reproductive Health, which was established in 2000 to “honour individuals or teams who, through their work or personal commitment, have raised awareness about the global problem of infertility, promoted greater patient access to treatment, broken new ground in scientific research or medical treatment, or made extraordinary contributions in other areas that support the goals of the Bertarelli Foundation.” He was much, much more than a worthy winner.

Professor Howard Jones was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1910. After his BA degree, he graduated from the prestigious John Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1935. He was a Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Chairman of the Board (honorary) of the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine. He also held the rank of Professor Emeritus at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where, between 1967 and 1976, he served as Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.

Professor Howard Jones was a pioneer in the true sense of the word – visionary, brave and ethical.