The first in vitro fertilisation (IVF) baby was born on 25.07.1978. In Great Britain, R.G. Edwards and P.C. Steptoe succeeded in removing an egg cell from the ovary using keyhole surgery, which was artificially fertilised and led to a pregnancy and subsequent birth. The first pregnancy, however, can be traced back to Australia to C. Wood and J. Leeton, who reported the first pregnancy after in vitro fertilization, but which resulted in a miscarriage.

Both pregnancies were achieved without using gonadotrophins.

Gonadotrophins were first developed over the following years to enable polyfollicular stimulation, i.e. the development of a multiplicity of follicles, which facilitated an increased pregnancy rate because of the transfer of several embryos. The first pregnancy after HMG-stimulation was reported in 1981 and after FSH-stimulation in 1992. The first successful use of GnRH-agonists to prevent premature ovulation took place in 1982, and GnRH-antagonists in 1991.

The development of these drugs has further revolutionized IVF-treatment beyond doubt. Nevertheless: the techniques can lead to multiple pregnancies and overstimulation and they are very expensive. Furthermore, women’s age at the time of their first IVF-treatment is also increasing in our society and these drugs only have a limited effect with increasing maternal age.

The optimisation of IVF laboratory techniques has fortunately now allowed us to return to the origins of IVF treatment and perform successful IVF treatment without using gonadotrophins. However, this requires one to completely rethink IVF treatment, as many research results which were acquired using traditional IVF do not apply to gonadotrophin-free IVF.

In Bern, we named the gonadotrophin-free IVF treatments “IVF-Naturelle®” and had this name copyrighted. Specialisation in these treatments has now allowed us to perform them so gently and effectively that they are an alternative to traditional IVF treatments for many couples.