Sunday, August 21, 2016

John E. Buster: The doctor that helped create embryo transfer

Dr. John E. Buster
Computers weren’t the singular mind-blowing science reveal that came out of the 1980’s. As an alternative option for infertility, to that of test tube babies, was the embryo transfer. Dr. John E. Buster and his team not only grabbed headlines, but defined history. John Edmond Buster was born on July 18, 1941 at the seaside city of Oxnard, west of Los Angeles, and was named after his uncle and father. His grandfather, Edmond Sr., left rural Texas for urban California, during the height of the Roaring Twenties, to find steady pay and extended education for John’s father and uncle. Because his father, Edmond Jr., was a mechanical engineer, John had the encouragement and accessibility to attend college. He graduated from Stanford University within three years instead of four in 1962, and earned a medical degree and completed his residency at the University of California. His areas of specialties: obstetrics, gynecology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

In 1973, he took on two more life progressions. In late January, he married his sweetheart, Frances Bunn.  And, despite the tragic downturn of the Vietnam War unceremoniously ending with the withdrawal of troops in April, he patriotically joined the military as a lieutenant colonel. Serving out his two years, in part treating military wives, he left his yearly $11,434 salary to start earning about $60,000 a year when he returned to UCLA.  His pursuit in seeking improvements in women’s health led to a medical breakthrough.

John and his research team began to develop the embryo transfer procedure in 1982. For women who had unhealthy ovaries, carried genetic disorders, or couldn’t produce useful eggs, they were providing an additional option. What that entailed was an egg donation and insertion of a fertilized egg, or zygote, from a glass vessel, (the in virto tube,) into a syringe that pushed the zygote through a thin hose to deposit it into a fallopian tube. The differences between this procedure to that of other in vitro fertilizations “test-tube babies” at the time were that, one,  it required no surgeries to extract and insert the eggs, and, two, that the baby would not be biologically related to the mother. Instead, mothers would have the zygotes easily inserted, and donors would “flush out” their mature egg during their cycles.  The flushing out is a delicate procedure which a double-lumen needle extracts follicular fluid that holds the egg while saline fluid is exchanged in another channel into the follicle; a small, fluid-filled sac in the ovary that contains one immature egg. 

After forty-six attempts, on February 3, 1984, the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center announced the first live birth of a human baby, and three months later, a second birth followed. While the Dallas Morning News casually underrated the success as a “milestone,”  the Today Show, Good Morning America, Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue, the New York Times, People Magazine, and Time Magazine said otherwise.  

This exposure reinforced his goals. For the next forty years as he constructed his career, John was a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA, University of Tennessee, Baylor College of Medicine, and Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and served on the Board of Directors and Scientific Board. He invested his experiences to help create a Silicon Valley medical device company, Previvo Genetics, Inc. His series of patents as one of his partners for Previvo Genetics, Inc. include a method for producing an in vivo environment suitable for human embryo transfer recovery and processing of human embryos formed in vivo, and uterine lavage for embryo retrieval.  In addition to infertility, he specializes in other female challenges such as ectopic pregnancies, hormone replacement, mood disorders, and so on.  Since the 1984 via in vitro fertilization, John and his team have been accredited to over 200,000 live births as recorded by the Centers for Disease Control.   In 2017, he has been inducted into ACOG Hall of Fame and the second Buster listed in America’s Who’s Who.

Today, John has only slowed down just a little bit. The aging doctor, who resembles the aging actor, Jonathan Banks, but without the facial hair and the intensely stern stare, maintains his connection in researching and consulting.  

The New York Times
Published: February 4, 1984

embryo transfer
LONG BEACH, Calif., Feb. 3— The birth of the first baby conceived in one woman's womb and carried to birth in another's without the use of ''test tube'' fertilization was announced here today by a team of California physicians.

The baby, a boy born about two weeks ago, ''is just beautiful,'' said the team leader, Dr. John E. Buster of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine. He described the embryo transfer technique, long used in cattle but just now applied to humans, at a news conference at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. The technique does not require surgery, anesthetic or test tube fertilization of the egg, Dr. Buster said. A report of the birth appears in today's issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the procedure, an embryo that was just beginning to develop was transferred from one woman in whom it had been conceived by artificial insemination to another woman who gave birth to the infant 38 weeks later. The sperm used in the artificial insemination came from the husband of the woman who bore the baby.

Dr. Buster said the technique was different from ''test tube'' fertilization, which involves surgical removal of an unfertilized egg from a woman, fertilization of the egg in a laboratory dish, and implantation of the fertilized egg into the womb. Technique Is Described

Australian researchers last month reported the first successful birth in which an egg donated by one woman was fertilized and then implanted in an infertile woman. It was similar to the procedure announced today in that it used a donor's egg that had already reached the embryo stage and then was implanted in another woman. But the Australian case still required fertilization of the egg in a glass dish rather than in the donor's body.

Along with a half-dozen colleagues, Dr. Buster described the technique and his plans to establish the first ovum transfer clinic at Memorial Hospital this spring.

The hormonal cycles of the egg donor and recipient must be well matched, the physicians said. Five days after a donor is artificially inseminated, her uterus is flushed out and if a healthy embryo is present it is inserted immediately into the recipient's uterus. The embryo may consist of only 8 to l0 cells and would not be visible to the naked eye.

Donors and recipients are also matched by blood type, Rh factor, and hair and eye color. Beneficiaries of Procedure

transfer technique
The embryo transfer technique should prove desirable to women who have defective ovaries and thus produce no functional eggs of their own, who are tired of surgery attempts that have not yet worked or who may carry genetic disorders, Dr. Buster said. As long as the infertile couple is willing to accept a donated egg, the technique can be carried out in a doctor's office. Fertility and Genetics Research Inc., a Chicago-based company that helped develop the technique, announced plans to establish a national computer base to handle a stock of fertilized eggs. It has also applied for patents on the instruments used in transferring human embryos.

The company's right to such patents and to set up clinics across the country has been challenged by Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation for Economic Trends in Washington, because the technique ''reduces the process of human reproduction to a commercialized product to be bought and sold in the marketplace.'' Mr. Rifkin said he planned a suit in patent court.

But Dr. Buster said the recipient mother, a woman in her 30's who had an eight-year history of infertility, is not upset over such issues. ''She is very happy and has a beautiful baby,'' he said.

The research team has attempted 46 transfers and had two successes. The second woman pregnant by the technique will be ready to give birth soon, he said, adding, ''We are very proud.''

(Standford University Yearbook, 1962)

Edmond Beatty Buster Jr (b.1918, Parker Co, TX) FATHER

Edmond "Bate" Beatty Buster Sr (b. 1891, Parker Co, TX,) GRANDFATHER

Green Newton Buster (b. 1858, Lawrence Co, AR) GREAT-GRANDFATHER

John Francis Buster (b. 1831, VA) 2ND GREAT-GRANDFATHER

Francis Beatty Buster (b. 1818, Scott, VA) 3RD GREAT-GRANDFATHER

John Buster Sr. (b.1755  Orange, NC ) 4TH GREAT-GRANDFATHER

William Buster Jr. (b.1729  Albemarle, VA ) 5TH GREAT-GRANDFATHER

William Buster Sr. (b.?? ) 6TH GREAT-GRANDFATHER

1 comment:

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