Shettles, Landrum B(rewer) 1909-2003

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SHETTLES, Landrum B(rewer) 1909-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born November 21, 1909, in Pontotoc, MS; died February 6, 2003, in St. Petersburg, FL. Physician, educator, and author. Shettles was one of the innovators of in vitro fertilization techniques and also researched methods for influencing the gender of a fetus. He was a 1933 graduate of Mississippi College, going on to earn a master's degree from the University of New Mexico in 1934 and a Ph.D. and M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1937 and 1943 respectively. Joining the U.S. Army in 1944, he was with the Medical Corps as a major until 1946. Having worked as a university instructor and researcher before the war, Shettles was hired as a resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City in 1947. It was at this post that he attempted to perform in vitro fertilization for a colleague and his wife in 1973. Not yet an accepted procedure, Shettles's actions were considered a violation of medical ethics, and this eventually led to his resignation. Shettles then practiced at Gifford Memorial Hospital in Randolph, Vermont, where he was an obstetrician-gynecologist from 1975 to 1981 before moving to Las Vegas, where he practiced in clinics and hospitals until he retired in 2000. His last post was at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. Shettles's in vitro fertilization techniques eventually became accepted procedure for couples with infertility problems. His ideas about how to influence the gender of one's baby by using non-medical methods such as the timing of sexual intercourse and employing various sexual positions, first published in his cowritten book Your Baby's Sex: Now You Can Choose (1970), gained few adherents among medical professionals, however. Nevertheless, his ideas became popular among the public, and his revised How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby was released in 1997. Shettles was also the coauthor of From Conception to Birth: The Drama of Life's Beginnings (1971) and Rites of Life: The Scientific Evidence for Life before Birth (1983).



Chicago Tribune, February 17, 2003, sSection 4, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2003, p. B11.

New York Times, February 16, 2003, p. A31.

Washington Post, February 18, 2003, p. B6.