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Fertility pioneer Jones still telling his story

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 27, 2012 at 9:47 am •  Published: December 27, 2012
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The Joneses had their supporters, though, and, in one instance, medical students took up so many of the seats at a hearing about the technique that protesters had few places left to sit.

In his book, Jones writes: "At the time of the birth of our first baby, Elizabeth Carr, in December of 1981, the leader of the opposition, Mr. Charles Dean, paraded in front of the hospital with a sandwich board saying, 'see me for the truth,' and he was distributing pamphlets describing the terrible things that were being done."

Jones also writes about the invitation extended to him and his wife by the Vatican in 1984 to discuss the moral implications of the procedure, which the Catholic church opposes.

Most of his books are scientific in nature, but he's recently tried his hand at a more general audience. For instance, in 2004, he published "War and Love: A Surgeon's Memoir of Battlefield Medicine with Letters to and from Home." The book described his years as a surgeon during World War II through letters he wrote to his endocrinologist wife.

Jones has always managed to be on the cutting edge of science and debate. At Johns Hopkins in 1951, he was the first doctor to treat Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cancerous cervix led to an immortal cell line for medical research, written about by Rebecca Skloot in "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." In the 1960s, he worked alongside British scientist Robert Edwards, who helped create the world's first test-tube baby in England in 1978 and was awarded the Nobel prize in medicine in 2010.

Nancy Garcia, who has worked as Jones' administrative assistant for 33 years, helped him put the book together and is gathering his notes for the next one.

"The thing that amazes me is his recall after all these years," Garcia said. "The detail that he can remember is unbelievable."

She said he enjoys writing. "It's what keeps his mind sharp."

Perhaps having famed poet Robert Frost as an English professor at Amherst College helped hone his writing skills.

Jones keeps in touch with the country's first in-vitro baby - who goes by her married name, Elizabeth Comeau, and works for the Boston Globe - and her parents.

He's heard from friends and experts in the field about his most recent book, but quipped:

"I haven't heard from the pope yet."