Landrum Brewer Shettles (1909-2003)
Ruffenach, Stephen C.
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Landrum Brewer Shettles is remembered as an important contributor to early in vitro fertilization research in the United States as well as a prolific author on the subject of choosing a child's sex before conception. Shettles was born in Pontotoc County, Mississippi on 21 November 1909 to Sue Mounce and Brazil Manly. Shettles trained and worked as a gynecologist at Columbia University Presbyterian Medical Center, after receiving his MD in 1943 from Johns Hopkins University. While working at Columbia, Shettles conducted experiments dealing with egg fertilization and in vitro fertilization. From this work, Shettles published Ovum Humanum, a book containing detailed photographs of human eggs in development. Despite professional eccentricities and social ineptitude that, at times, hindered his work with colleagues, Shettles is considered a pioneer of in vitro fertilization technology as well as a major contributor to fertilization and embryonic research.