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November 1: Artificial Insemination

Lawrence Bush
October 31, 2016
Gregory Pincus , who would become the co-inventor of the birth control approved for use in the U.S in 1960, displayed a rabbit conceived by artificial impregnation on this date in 1939 at the the New York Academy of Medicine. Pincus (at left above, with research associates Min-Chueh Chang, and John Rock) had removed an egg from the ovary of a female rabbit, fertilized it, and transferred it to the uterus of a second rabbit, which brought the baby rabbit to term. It was the first animal created through artificial insemination and impregnation, which has since become a major tool of animal breeding and treating human infertility. Pincus first produced in vitro fertilization in rabbits in 1934 and reproduction through parthenogenesis (fatherless reproduction) in 1936 (which brought him notoriety). In 1952, he began associating with Margaret Sanger and her friend and financial backer, Katharine McCormick -- an association that would lead to the development of the Pill and help catalyze the Sexual Revolution. “Pincus can interrupt a critical problem to take ten phone calls and then switch his mind back to the problem in a second. Recognizing people and human frailties as they exist, he has freed himself from emotional turbulence.” — New York Times

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.