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Overview of the History of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments have come a long way since 1978 when Louise Brown was born following the first use of the pioneering technique. Today, the doctors at Fertility Center of San Antonio employ advanced technology to deliver personalized care to hopeful parents in San Antonio, TX. If you are curious about the history of IVF, this overview highlights formative moments in the development of this important fertility treatment.

Key Moments in the Development of IVF Technology

Dr. Patrick Steptoe and Sir Robert Edwards are credited with pioneering the IVF procedure. In 1978, Dr. Steptoe worked with a woman who had blocked fallopian tubes. After using a laparoscope to collect her egg, the sperm of the husband was added to the extracted egg in a petri dish. The fertilized egg was then placed inside her womb, and Louise Brown was born nine months later.

Edwards, a physiologist, co-developed the treatment along with embryologist Jean Purdy. Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010. Steptoe and Purdy were not eligible since the Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumously.

The pivotal work of the three pioneers built upon previous advances and new thoughts in literature and culture.

  • In 1932, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World realistically described the IVF technique.
  • In 1934, Gregory Pincus and Ernst Vinzenz Enzmann published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America that raised the possibility that mammalian eggs were suitable for development in vitro.
  • In 1961, French gynecologist Raoul Palmer was the first to retrieve a human oocyte via laparoscopy.
  • British scientist Robert Edwards, along with Georgeanna and Howard Jones, successfully fertilized human eggs outside of the human body in 1969.
  • The first IVF baby was born in the United States due to the efforts of Howard and Georgeanna Jones in 1981.

Later advances in hormonal follicle stimulation, ultrasound, microinjection of sperm, single embryo transfer, frozen embryo storage, and measures that have cut the cost of IVF have all made the treatment the accessible, safe, and effective procedure that it is today.

Modern IVF Treatments

Building upon the important work of past scientists and doctors, our fertility specialists now use advanced imaging, genetic screeningembryo transfer, and other advanced and proven techniques to help hopeful parents conceive and deliver healthy babies.

The four primary phases of modern IVF treatments include:

  • Ovulation induction
  • Egg retrieval
  • Fertilization
  • Embryo transfer

Our fertility experts can explain each of these steps in detail during your appointment at Fertility Center of San Antonio.

Building upon the important work of past scientists and doctors, our fertility specialists now use advanced and proven techniques to help hopeful parents conceive and deliver healthy babies.

Schedule Your IVF Consultation Today

Advances in the decades since IVF was first developed have taken the guesswork out of the procedure. If you are seeking IVF to address infertility issues, our caring and expert fertility experts are ready to help you conceive and deliver a healthy baby. To schedule your IVF consultation, contact our office online or call (210) 692-0577.