March 8, 1996
Media Contact: John Cramer
Phone: (410) 955-1534
Like the birth of babies, the biological window of opportunity for in-vitro fertilization will not wait for a convenient time. January's record snowstorm halted much of the Baltimore area, but the Johns Hopkins In-vitro Fertilization Program had to deliver. Via a four-wheel drive vehicle, the lab's embryologist reached the hospital to ensure completion of IVF procedures under way for three women.
The result: two women are pregnant, one with twins.
Hopkins officials credited Jewel Smart, the lab's embryologist, with an assist from Hopkins security, which used a four-wheel drive vehicle to get her from her snowed-in home to the hospital. On Jan. 7, Smart reached the lab to make preparations for the women's eggs to be retrieved the next day. She stayed on duty for more than 48 hours to oversee retrieval of the eggs, fertilization and implantation. All three patients had been under intensive preparations and treatments for three to four weeks and would have had to start the process all over if Smart had not made it.
"The bottom line is that two of the three women are pregnant thanks to her commitment," says Edward Wallach, M.D., a professor of gynecology and obstetrics. "Our IVF program's ongoing pregnancy rate last year was 39.1 percent, which ranks with the best programs in the country."