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CONTACT: STEVE MARAVETZ
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8037; fax (319) 335-8034
e-mail: steve-maravetz@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

PBS seeks mothers of first frozen sperm babies

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Producers at the Public Broadcasting System are looking for the three women who were the first in the world to give birth to babies conceived with sperm that had been stored on dry ice.

The births took place in December 1953 and January and February 1954 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The information released at the time was scanty and the names of the mothers and the dates of the births were withheld.

The producers would like to interview one or more of the mothers for possible inclusion in a three-part series called "Innovations," which will be broadcast on PBS in December. The series looks at the cutting edge of medical technologies. The first one-hour segment is on recent developments in reproductive medicine and neonatal care and will include an update on fertility research. It is for this segment that the producers would like to speak with the mothers.

The storage of male sperm was pioneered by UI urologist Dr. Raymond Bunge. When the breakthrough was made in 1953, it appeared in newspapers around the world and was the subject of controversy in Iowa and across the U.S. Such sperm storage is now relatively common.

Mothers who come forth will be assured whatever level of privacy they want. They should contact Steve Maravetz, Office of Health Science Relations, UI, (319) 335-8033. All replies will remain confidential.

7/16/97