IVF: Past and future

Howard W. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The introduction of IVF into the New World had its roots in Robert Edwards' six-week fellowship at Johns Hopkins in 1965, when he and I made a systematic attempt to fertilize human oocytes in vitro. While fertilization was not claimed in the publication of the work done in 1965, a retrospective examination of published photos indicate that human fertilization was obtained at that time. Edwards and Steptoe achieved a term birth with IVF in 1978, and this stimulated the establishment of an IVF clinic in Norfolk, Virginia. Using ovarian stimulation in 1981, the first delivery in the New World took place. This led to a series of studies on the influence of ovarian stimulation on the normal menstrual cycle and resulted in the finding that with ovarian stimulation there are three response patterns: high, normal and low. It was shown that an LH surge does not occur in ovarian stimulation. This latter observation led to the discovery of the LH surge inhibiting factor. The Norfolk programme became involved in the societal impact of IVF through an invitation to the Vatican, the Ethical Committee of the American Fertility Society (later the American Society for Reproductive Medicine), a lawsuit for libel against the local newspaper, and other activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalReproductive biomedicine online
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003


  • IVF
  • IVF and society
  • Infertility
  • Ovarian stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology


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