The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 63: 83 - 92 (2019)

Vol 63, Issue 3-4-5

Special Issue: Early mammalian development

A short history of in vitro fertilization (IVF)

Published: 16 April 2019

Martin H. Johnson*

Anatomy School, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, Cambridge, UK


The history of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in humans from the early attempts in the USA through to the first definitive achievement of IVF by Edwards, Steptoe and Purdy (1969-1978), and the brief period of innovative IVF achievements to Melbourne, Australia, cut short by the passage of restrictive legislation (1979-1984) is recorded. A summary of the key achievements since the mid 1980s is then given. The shameful connotations of engaging in IVF of those esrly days is contrasted with its wide acceptance today, in which IVF is setting the norms for modern families.


IVF, history, Edwards, Steptoe, Purdy

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