The Evolution of Fertility Treatment

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approving the sale and marketing of clomiphene citrate (Clomid) for the “treatment of ovulatory dysfunction in women desiring pregnancy”.   At the time, this was a huge breakthrough for couples who were desperate to conceive their own child.  For many patients, it was a “wonder drug”.

Prior to Clomid, there wasn’t much that physician could do for patients when it came to fertility treatment.  And, what many people probably don’t realize is that it took 11 years from the time this medication was first created to it finally becoming available to patients.

Given how long it took Clomid to come to fruition, it’s remarkable to see how much the field of reproductive medicine has advanced since that time. We went from having only one choice for fertility medicine to now having entire specialty pharmacies that deal only with the many fertility medications that are available.  And, we are able to treat many different types of fertility issues.

At the time of Clomid being introduced to the market, there were no treatments available for fertility issues not related to ovulation. For instance, couples who were struggling to conceive due to fallopian tube blockage or severely low sperm counts had no options.  In vitro fertilization wasn’t an available until the late 1970s and even then it was “experimental”. The first IVF baby wasn’t born until 1978 and it took multiple attempts for her to be conceived.

Now, men and women have so many options available to them.  And, with rapid advances in technology, fertility treatments are yielding high success rates.  Whether it is a problem with ovulation, fallopian tubes, sperm counts, genetic disorders, etc., there is likely a treatment option that may help. Fertility medications, intrauterine inseminations, and in vitro fertilization have come a long way in the past 50 years.

At Reproductive Partners, we are constantly trying to stay on top of new advances in our field, so that we can provide the best treatments to our patients.  Some of our physicians were the pioneers of this field and we are all excited to see what the next 50 years will bring.


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