Development of in vitro fertilization in the United States: a conversation between Zev Rosenwaks and Jairo E. Garcia

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of in vitro fertilization (IVF), Zev Rosenwaks and Jairo Garcia reflect on the development of the first IVF program in the United States.

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Volume 110, Issue 1, Pages 14–18


Jairo E. Garcia, M.D., Zev Rosenwaks, M.D.


In commemoration of 40 years of in vitro fertilization (IVF), herein we describe the early evolution of the first IVF program at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. The birth of the first American IVF baby was the result of the work of many investigators, both in experimental animal models and in humans, heavily relying on the experience of Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe in Great Britain. Although their first IVF baby was the result of the retrieval of a single oocyte in the natural cycle, duplicating their methods was not successful in Norfolk. It turns out that the achievement of the first pregnancy in the United States was associated with introducing ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins, establishing the appropriate timing for egg retrieval after hCG administration, retrieving multiple mature oocytes, determining the ideal time for in vitro insemination, and optimizing embryo culture media.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.