Three Centuries of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

In the past ten years, the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has greatly increased. However, the use of ART existed long before Louise Brown, the first test tube baby, was born. The first attempted ART treatments began as early as the 1700s! Here are some of the major milestones in ART, which have eventually led to our favorite: embryo adoption.

1770s - First successful case of human artificial insemination was reported by Scottish surgeon John Hunter in London.

1884 - First successful case of human donor insemination by physician, William Pancoast, at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

1944 - First successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) of a human egg by physicians, John Rock and Miriam Menkin, at Harvard Medical School.

1953 - First successful pregnancy using frozen sperm. Researchers discovered sperm could be frozen for future use.

1955 – Sperm donation becomes widely popular, with one New York Time’s article claiming 50,000 babies were conceived with donor sperm. That’s a lot of babies!

1978 – After many failed attempts, Louise Brown becomes the world’s first baby born who was conceived using IVF.

1984 – The first baby who was conceived with a donated egg is born.


Zoe is the first baby born from a frozen embryo.

1980s-1990s – First instances of using anonymously donated embryos for pregnancy attempts.

1997 – The first embryo adoption program, Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program, is established.

1998 – The first Snowflake Baby, Hannah, is born in December.

2007 – The Embryo Adoption Awareness Center is established, with the goal of educating families on the option of embryo donation and adoption!

To learn more about embryo donation and adoption, visit