Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B
Online ISSN : 1349-2896
Print ISSN : 0386-2208
ISSN-L : 0386-2208
In vitro fertilization in Japan — Early days of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer and future prospects for assisted reproductive technology —
Masakuni SUZUKI
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2014 Volume 90 Issue 5 Pages 184-201


Assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer (ET) has been essential in the treatment of infertility. The world’s first IVF-ET baby was born in 1978 based on the technique developed by Dr. Robert Edwards and Dr. Patrick Steptoe. In Japan, the first IVF-ET birth was reported in 1983 by Prof. Masakuni Suzuki at Tohoku University School of Medicine.
IVF-ET is a procedure used to achieve pregnancy that consists of extracting oocytes from an infertile woman, fertilizing them in vitro, and transferring fertilized eggs into the patient’s uterine cavity (Fig. 1). Since the first report of successful IVF-ET, numerous techniques related to ART, such as cryopreservation of oocytes and embryos, gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and microinsemination, have been developed and refined (Table 1).
Herein we describe the history of basic research in IVF-ET that led to human applications, how the birth of the first IVF-ET baby was achieved in Japan, the current status of ART in Japan, issues related to ART, and future prospects for ART.

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© 2014 The Japan Academy
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