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Infertility treatment – history

History of Fertility Treatments

1790 – First birth of a child is conceived through artificial insemination (in which sperm is injected into a female, not during sex).

1884 – The first known U.S. sperm donor enables a couple to have a child.

1937 – The idea of in vitro (Latin for “dish,” as opposed to “in vivo,” or “in body”) fertilization (IVF) is proposed in the editorial “Conception in a Watch Glass” in the New England Journal of Medicine. IVF is fertilization of an egg outside the body where the resulting embryo is typically transferred to a woman’s womb for gestation.

1938 – Freezing of sperm is found to be successful for the first time.

1945 – The British Medical Journal publishes early reports regarding artificial insemination using donor sperm. This subject raises concerns in the press and in Parliament. Despite recommendations by the ARchbishop of Canterbury to criminalize artificial insemination using donor sperm, the government feels such action would drive the actions underground, and sperm donation is discouraged rather than criminalized.

1955 – Four children are born as a result of the use of frozen sperm.

1967 – The Vatican condemns IVF and all other forms of test tube births.

1969 – Robert G. Edwards, the English embryologist who will one day help create the first “test-tube” baby, publishes an article in Nature about the artificial fertilization of human eggs.

1972 – A U.S. scientist successfully fertilizes an egg in vitro.

1973 – A Florida couple becomes the first to attempt in vitro fertilization in the U.S.

The first IVF pregnancy in the world is reported in Australia, but it ends in death in the unborn child’s early development.

1978 – History is made with the birth of Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, in England (it was the 104th attempt by Drs. Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards).

Infertility treatment history

1981 – The first IVF baby, Elizabeth Carr, is conceived in the U.S.

1983 – The world’s first baby is born from frozen human embryos.

1984 – Zoe Leyland is the first U.S. birth from a frozen embryo.

The world’s first baby is born in Australia who is conceived from a donated egg.

Dr. Richard Ash from the University of Texas discovers a simpler way to perform IVF: gamete intra-fallopian transfer, or GIFT. Also developed is the technique zygote intra-fallopian transfer (ZIFT).

1985 – The first IVF twins are born from frozen embryos in Australia.

1986 – A surrogate mother in New Jersey, Mary Beth Whitehead, sues to keep the baby she carried. She loses custody but wins visitation rights.

1987 – The embryo transfer procedure is patented, starting a trend among fertility specialists (and later genetists) of patenting the processes and products of human tissue manipulation.

1988 – 3,000 babies are born using the IVF procedure.

1988-1989 Gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT), the procedure that places unfertilized eggs and sperm into the woman’s Fallopian tube, is introduced. The technique produces the first successful pregnancies.

1991 – A 42-year-old woman becomes the “mother” of her own grandchild. Arlette Schweitzer serves as a gestational surrogate for her daughter, becomes pregnant with an egg donated by her daughter, and sperm donated by her daughter’s husband.

1992 – Prosecutors use DNA testing to prove that fertility doctor Cecil Jacobson secretly used his own sperm to assist his infertile patients conceive 15 to 75 children.

1993 – Becki and Keith Dilley of Indiana become parents of the only living sextuplets in the U. S.

A new male infertility treatment is introduced called Sperm Micro Injection (ICSI). The ICSI technique injects one sperm into the egg.

1994 – In Italy a postmenopausal woman, Rosanna Della Corte, uses donated eggs and her husband’s sperm to give birth at the age of 62.

In December of 1994, President Bill Clinton announces that federal funds will not be used to create human embryos for the sole purpose of research. They can, however, be used to fund research on excess embryos created through IVF.

1996 – In Woodward v. Commission of Social Security, Lauren Woodward sues for social security for her twin daughters conceived with her dead husband’s frozen sperm. She wins the case.

1997 – After taking a fertility drug, Bobbi McCaughey, of Iowa, gave birth to four boys and three girls. They are the only septuplets alive to date.

A Milwaukee, Wisconsin couple tries to inseminate a woman with their dead son’s frozen sperm so that they can have a grandchild.

California bans the stealing of eggs or embryos, in response to the 1996 scandal involving Dr. Ricardo Asch. Asch used sperm and eggs without consent from one couple to impregnate another woman.

The first embryo-adoption program in the U.S, Snowflakes, is founded by a Christian adoption agency. It begins matching donor embryos with infertile women.

The first U.S. woman gives birth to a baby conceived from a frozen egg.

1998 – In Scotland, a test-tube baby is born with both female and male sex organs. Doctors speculate that IVF treatments increase the odds of this rare condition.

Scientists are able to select a baby’s sex by using a technique that separates X and Y chromosome sperm.

A new IVF procedure, “blastocyst transfer,” is used in which an egg is fertilized in the lab and a special culturing technique is used to grow the embryo for five days before implanting it into the mother.

Congress passes the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act, one of the few laws to explicitly regulate ART. Implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this law requires clinics to collect and make public the outcome of their treatments. The CDC publishes an annual report sixth data detailing and summarizing infertility procedures and their success rates.

A California court awards custody to Luanne Buzzanca in the case of “Jaycee B.” The child is conceived with an egg donated by one woman, fertilized by sperm from an anonymous donor, and implanted into a third woman, who carried and gave birth to the child for John and Luanne Buzzanca, an infertile couple living in California. One month before the birth, John files for divorce and contends he is not obligated to pay child support. The trial judge rules the child has no legal parents; an Appeals Court reverses the ruling and John and Luanne are named legal parents. John is required to pay child support.

1999 – The first IVF grandchild is born.

2000 – Six-year-old Molly Nash has fanconi anemia, a fatal genetic disorder that leads to bone marrow failure. The child’s parents decide to have a child (dubbed a “designer baby”) who can donate bone marrow to Molly. Doctors transfuse cells from the brother’s umbilical cord to Molly.

2001 – The New Jersey Supreme Court upholds a woman’s right to prevent her ex-husband from using (with someone else’s) embryos they created through IVF during their marriage.

Scientists state they can create designer sperm.

2003 – California considers one of the few laws explicitly recognizing egg donation. It requires that donors provide explicit informed consent and further specifies how they want unused donated material to be handled. Penalties of up to $5,000 can be assessed for failure to obtain proper consent. Provisions for determination of parentage are not included in the law.

2004 – A New Jersey couple whose embryo was implanted by mistake in another woman during an in vitro treatment in 1998 settles their lawsuit against the New York City fertility clinic that performed the procedure in exchange for an undisclosed amount of money.

A major study published in the December 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine finds that nearly as many women who received only one embryo at a time gave birth as women who received two embryos during IVF. At the same time the risk of giving birth to twins is minimized. The findings are from the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden.


(information from ForLife-ForFamily – //

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