Johns Hopkins Medical Center, located in Baltimore, Maryland, opened in 1889; its associated medical school opened four years later. Today the hospital, a leading research center, contains many departments, including a fertility center that is renowned for taking on difficult cases that have been rejected by other fertility clinics. The fertility center was founded by physician Georgeanna Seegar Jones in 1939 as the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in the gynecology department. The division expanded once formal training in reproductive endocrinology began in 1973. With the growth of this department came new developments; by 1984 the center was offering a variety of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) for individuals unable to conceive a child naturally. Johns Hopkins gynecology department is ranked second out of 4,800 hospitals by the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking for America's best hospitals in 2009-2010.

On 20 November 2009 Democrat Barack Obama replaced Republican George W. Bush as president of the United States. Obama soon initiated changes to Bush's 2001 executive order concerning scientific research involving human stem cells. Stem cell research remains a controversial issue in the US. Some individuals consider it immoral to experiment with an embryo because they regard embryos as human beings from the moment of conception, while others believe stem cell research could lead to great scientific advancements. Congress has not passed any legislation on stem cell research, leaving it open to the president to make policy through executive orders. On 9 March 2009, Obama signed Executive Order 13505 to expand experimentation on stem cells. This overturned Executive Order 13435, which was signed by George W. Bush to limit the potential research that could be done on embryonic stem cells.

Anne Laura Dorinthea McLaren was a developmental biologist known for her work with embryology in the twentieth century. McLaren was the first researcher to grow mouse embryos outside of the womb. She experimented by culturing mouse eggs and successfully developing them into embryos, leading to advancements with in vitro fertilization.

On 20 January 2001, Republican George W. Bush was sworn in as the forty-third president of the United States, replacing Democrat William J. Clinton. During his eight years in office, Bush issued many executive orders, often altering previous policy. By signing Order 13435 on 22 June 2007, he changed how stem cell research would be performed in America. The Bush administration was influenced by its commitments to conservative ethical values when constructing this executive order; its goal was to expand stem cell research, but only in ways that did not involve the creation of, or damage to, a human embryo or fetus. This order was developed with the belief that pluripotent stem cells could be researched while still being respectful to human dignity and life. The four sections of Order 13435 provided strict guidelines for future stem cell research.

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