In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure first developed in 1978 in which a woman’s ovaries are stimulated with fertility drugs to produce multiple mature eggs, which are then removed from her body and are fertilized in the laboratory with her partner’s (or donor) sperm. The resulting embryos are cultured for three or five days and the best two or three are then transferred back into her uterus.

The first successful use of in vitro fertilization in reproduction came on July 25, 1978 when Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first “test tube” baby, was born in Great Britain. The technology has come a long way since then. Today, IVF is a fairly common procedure with a high rate of success, having progressed beyond the wildest dreams of those who worked on the concept back in the 1970’s. In vitro is so effective today that it is considered one of the primary options to treat infertility.

It’s been over thirty years since that significant date in medical history, and the science of in vitro has evolved quite a bit. Geoffrey Sher, founder of the Sher Institute, has been an innovative force in the fertility field since the early 1980’s. Invitro fertilization clinics have sprung up around the country, with Sher Institute fertility clinics now open in Central Illinois, Dallas, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, St. Louis, New Jersey, and New York.

In the 1980’s, Geoffrey Sher was instrumental in several of the advancements made with in vitro techniques and procedures. He was the first to recommend the use of gonadotropins to stimulate follicular development and helped pioneer the IUI method of using washed sperm to treat infertility. Those and other early discoveries in the field helped keep in vitro fertilization research going throughout the decade until finally, in the 1990’s, it was recognized as a viable alternative for treating infertility in women.

In this century, the Sher Institute has continued with their tradition of excellence and Geoffrey Sher has a number of other “firsts” in the field of in vitro fertilization. Among them are new protocols for ovarian stimulation and further development of a technique he developed in 1997, the use of Viagra to thicken the lining of the uterus in IVF patients. These breakthroughs have helped hundreds of women today conceive in situations where they would otherwise be infertile. We’ve definitely come a long way since 1978 and so has Louise Joy Brown. She conceived a son named Cameron in 2006. That birth was completely natural and didn’t require IVF.