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The History of IVF

By Dr. Kalan on October 09, 2018


IVFInfertility is a common problem. Many people find that, even after months of trying, they are unsuccessful in conceiving. One of the most popular and successful fertility treatments is IVF. IVF, or in vitro fertilization, assists throughout most of the stages of conception to significantly increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

While IVF has a proven reputation of success, like all medical treatments, it was once considered a new technique. Here, we discuss the history of IVF that allows our Los Angeles, CA patients to benefit from this innovative treatment at Los Angeles Reproductive Center.

The Introduction of Fertility Treatment

IVF is a well-known procedure today, but there was a time when no fertility treatments were available. The idea of fertility treatments was born during the 1800s, when scientists and doctors finally discovered that it was a combination of sperm and eggs that caused pregnancy to occur.

As more was understood about conception, a new field of medical treatment was born. The first fertility treatment center was opened in Massachusetts in 1926. However, the services offered varied greatly from those available today.

Early Stages of IVF

In 1934, a Harvard biologist named Gregory Pincus began testing techniques similar to IVF on ducks. However, the research was found to be controversial, and Dr. Pincus was fired.

Not too long after, his top research assistant, Miriam Menkin, began working with Dr. John Rock, who was a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harvard Medical School. Together, Menkin and Rock began conducting IVF studies on humans.

In 1948, they published a study of their experiments, which included the earliest recorded stages of human embryo development. Although no child was born of these experiments, Menkin and Rock paved the way for what would later be the birth of the first “test tube” baby.

Success of IVF 

Although experiments in the field of IVF continued for many years after Menkin and Rock published their study, it wasn’t until 1978 that IVF resulted in the first successful live birth in England. Drs. Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe collaborated to work with patients Leslie and John Brown.

Leslie was having difficulty becoming pregnant due to fallopian tube obstruction. Using IVF, Leslie Brown became pregnant and gave birth to the first “test tube” baby, Louise Brown.

The birth of Louise Brown had been a success, but there were still many regulations that needed to be dealt with before IVF could be introduced to the United States. After dealing with regulatory challenges, the first American IVF clinic was opened in Virginia in 1978. Just a few years later, the United States announced the birth of its first IVF baby, a girl named Elizabeth Carr.

Learn More

Today, advanced techniques make IVF one of the most successful forms of fertility treatment. If you’d like to learn more about the IVF process, or any of the other fertility treatments offered at the Los Angeles Reproductive Center, contact us at your earliest convenience. Call (818) 946-8051 to schedule an appointment.

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Drs. Nurit Winkler and Marc Kalan of Los Angeles Reproductive Center are a unique fertility clinic focused on treating patients like family and built upon the principles of communication, compassion, warmth, openness, and service that accompanies an exceptional pregnancy rate. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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