History of IVF

The first successful IVF birth was achieved in 1978 in the UK by Steptoe and Edwards in a natural cycle. Since that time, IVF technology has expanded markedly with multiple applications in human reproduction.

IVF was invented to by-pass damaged or blocked Fallopian tubes. Since it's invention it has become a mainstream form of treatment with over 75,000 cycles of treatment taking place in the UK in 2021 alone.


Basic research studies on animal gametes leading up to IVF


Min Chueh Chang and Ryuzo Yanagamici undertake ground breaking research that proves mammalian IVF possible


A number of failed attempts at IVF in humans including one in 1975 that resulted in an ectopic pregnancy


Patrick Steptoe & Robert Edwards successfully carried out a pioneering conception leading to the first 'test tube' baby Louise Brown being born in the UK. A year later in 1979 they were also responsible for the first confirmed boy conceived by IVF.


First birth in BRISTOL of a baby conceived by IVF at a local clinic


The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act receives Royal Assent and in 1991 the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority becomes the worlds first fertility treatment regulator starts work.


ICSI is introduced allowing men with very poor sperm quality to use their own Sperm instead of donor sperm


Social sex selection is banned through HFEA guidance


IVF treatment has become mainstream medical technology with over 450 IVF clinic in the USA alone


Donor anonymity removed meaning people conceived using donor gametes can find out who their parent(s)'s donor was when they turn 18


HFE Act 2008 comes into effect allowing both partners in same-sex and unmarried couples to be legal parents without having to adopt


Over 5 million IVF babies born worldwide


Over 100 IVF clinics registered with the HFEA in the UK


In the UK Approximately 2% of children in the UK are conceived using IVF technology, that's 20,000 IVF babies deliveries annually.

Since 1978 there have been over 390,000 babies born from IVF and over 10million globally