Penn Fertility Care

History of Fertility Care at Penn

Penn doctors established the Greater Philadelphia region's first coordinated infertility program in 1965. It was recognized that obstetrics and gynecology, which traditionally includes the treatment of female infertility, also involves several subspecialties.

From these subspecialties, a pioneering effort evolved, establishing a single division focusing on the medical and scientific aspects of reproductive medicine with an emphasis placed on infertility and reproductive endocrinology. This allowed Penn faculty to evaluate fertility patients in the context of their overall needs, while focusing on the specific causes of their infertility.

As the infertility field developed, the reasons for ovulation failure were identified and treatments developed for the induction of ovulation in patients previously regarded as having hopeless infertility. Once the fallopian tube became the subject of intensive research, and received support by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a better understanding of the basic function of the fallopian tube resulted.

Microsurgical and laparoscopic techniques were developed for the treatment of tubal abnormalities. A fundamental understanding of how the egg is released from the ovary and transported into the fallopian tube for fertilization led to some of the earliest observations on human fertilization and to the first In Vitro Fertilization Program in Pennsylvania.

Constant improvement and refinement of infertility management has resulted in remarkable success, for which the program continues to strive and enjoys today. Penn measures success in terms of the satisfaction patients receive from the care they receive, and in the ability to manage and treat the most challenging of cases. Penn continues to receive recognition in the form of significant support for women's health from many agencies and foundations.

Penn Fertility Care is one of only eight centers funded by the NIH for clinical infertility research, and has been designated as a Reproductive Medicine Unit. Penn's Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health is the only center in the United States receiving NIH funds for laboratory research related specifically to infertility. This interaction with research science allows the earliest translation of new knowledge to our clinic and practices.

Penn Fertility Care has a long history of supplying the best infertility care possible. Penn strives to offer compassionate and informed patient care, to excel in reproductive research, and to succeed in building happy and healthy families for years to come.