Reproduction

Reproduction: timeline of key events

The tubes were described by Garbielle Falloppio, an anatomist and physician, based on his study of reproductive organs in both sexes. 1561-01-01T00:00:00+0000Gabriele Falloppio described the Fallopian tubes appearing like a trumpet. 1566-01-01T00:00:00+0000The suggestion was made by the English physician William Harvey in his book Exercitationes de generatione animalium (On Animal Generation). He put forward his idea based on his observations with hens' eggs. 1651-01-01T00:00:00+0000Jan Swammerdam, a Dutch biologist and microscopist, submitted illustrations of the uterus and ovary to the Royal Society. 1671-01-01T00:00:00+0000The work was done by Reinier de Graaf, a Dutch physician and anatomist1672-01-01T00:00:00+0000Leeuwenhoek wrote to the Royal Society reporting his discovery of microscopic tadpole-like creatures in a sample of seminal fluid that he collected from his wife after making love to her. Leeuwenhoek subsequently found sperm in many other animals and determined that they were made by the testes. 1677-11-01T00:00:00+0000Known as the father of modern physiology, von Haller was a physician who discovered the autonomous nature of the heart and the mechanism of respiration. He also discovered that bile helps digest fats and made many contributions to understanding the distinction between nerve impulses and muscle contractions. During his time he put forward different theories about the nature of embryological development, one of which proposed that the new individual exists within the maternal egg prior to conception. He also put forward an accurate model of fetal growth during gestation, showing that the growth was faster at the beginning than later on. 1708-10-16T00:00:00+0000Lazzaro Spallanzani challenged the theory by demonstrating that micro-organisms did not appear in meat broth sealed inside tightly closed jars that had been boiled for half an hour.1768-01-01T00:00:00+0000The Scottish surgeon and scientist John Hunter advised a cloth merchant with severe hypospadias to collect semen that escaped during coitus in a warmed syringe and the to inject that sample into the vagina. Hunter wrote up the case in 1790.1770-01-01T00:00:00+0000Lazarro Spallanzi found that it was possible to prevent fertilisation of frogs' eggs during the frog mating season by covering the hindquarters of male frogs with watertight waxed taffeta breeches. Following this he demonstrated that it was possible to transform virgin eggs removed from the bellies of female frogs into tadpoles by exposing them to sperm collected from the male sperm when they pseudo-coupled with the females. 1770-01-01T00:00:00+0000Known as the father of modern physiology, von Haller was a Swiss physician who discovered the autonomous nature of the heart and the mechanism of respiration. He also discovered that bile helps digest fats and made many contributions to understanding the distinction between nerve impulses and muscle contractions. During his time he put forward different theories about the nature of embryological development, one of which proposed that the new individual exists within the maternal egg prior to conception. He also put forward an accurate model of fetal growth during gestation, showing that the growth was faster at the beginning than later on. 1777-12-12T00:00:00+0000Lazzaro Spallanzini found that it was possible to remove the fertilising capacity of semen by passing seminal liquid from male frogs through a filter paper and that the material that remained on the filter paper could cause fertilisation. 1779-01-01T00:00:00+0000The work was carried by Lazzaro Spallanzani, an Italian catholic priest, biologist and physiologist. He managed to perform the technique in a spaniel dog.1785-01-01T00:00:00+0000von Baer was a biologist who helped found the discipline of embryology and developmental biology. Much of his early work was on chick embryology. In 1827 he published the first description of the mammalian egg cell. This was based on his investigations of the structure of the ovum in the dog. He found it to be a small yellow spot floating in follicular fluid. von Baer developed the germ-layer theory which holds that four layers of cells are formed in vertebrate eggs and that each layer always gives rise to certain tissues in the adult organism. Based on his research he also showed that while the early development of embryo of one species resembled that of other species, it passed through a number of states that became progressively different from each other so that the adult never resembles other species.1792-02-17T00:00:00+0000Jean-Louis Prevost, a Swiss physician, and Jean-Baptiste Dumas, a French scientist, discovered the presence of spermatozoa in the testes of many different animals. Their work challenged the traditional view at the time that spermatozoa were parasites. Most of the findings were published in the Annales des Sciences Naturelles in the period 1821–30.1800-01-01T00:00:00+0000The observation was made by Carl Ernst von Baer while investigating the ovary of a dog. 1826-01-01T00:00:00+0000The term was used by Karl Ernst Baer, a Baltic German anatomist and zoologist. Before this time sperm were known as 'animalcules. 1827-01-01T00:00:00+0000Hertwig was a biologist who determined that fertilisation starts when the nuclei of sperm and ovum cells fuse. This he proved in 1876 through experiments with sea urchins. Eight years later he demonstrated, through investigations of frog eggs, that the cell divides along its long axis. He was also prescient in predicting, in 1885, that the nucleic acid is the substance responsible for fertilisation and the transmission of hereditary traits. This phenomenon was proven in 1944. 1849-04-21T00:00:00+0000Loeb was a physiologist and biologist who demonstrated the possibility of reproduction without male fertilisation, parthenogenesis, in sea urchin eggs. He found it was possible to stimulate embryonic development in the eggs of sea urchins without sperm by making slight chemical changes to the water where the eggs were kept. This he discovered while conducting experiments at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. His results were published in 'Activation of the unfertilized egg by ultra-violet rays', Science, 40/1036 (1914), 680-1. While Loeb was nominated for the Nobel Prize many times he never won. 1859-04-07T00:00:00+0000McCormick was one of the first women to earn a biology degree from MIT. She went on to become a prominent suffragist and philanthropist who played a significant role in the development of the first oral contraceptive pill. She provided $2 million of her own money for the development of the pill, first approved for gynaecological disorders in 1957. McCormick continued to provide funding to improve birth control once the pill was approved. 1875-08-27T00:00:00+0000von Baer was a Prussian-Estonian biologist who helped found the discipline of embryology and developmental biology. Much of his early work was on chick embryology. In 1827 he published the first description of the mammalian egg cell. This was based on his investigations of the structure of the ovum in the dog. He found it to be a small yellow spot floating in follicular fluid. von Baer developed the germ-layer theory which holds that four layers of cells are formed in vertebrate eggs and that each layer always gives rise to certain tissues in the adult organism. Based on his research he also showed that while the early development of embryo of one species resembled that of other species, it passed through a number of states that became progressively different from each other so that the adult never resembles other species. 1876-11-28T00:00:00+0000The observation was made during investigations into sea urchin fertilisation by both Oscar Hertwig and Hermann Fol working independently of each other. 1879-01-01T00:00:00+0000Sanger popularised the term 'birth control' and opened the first contraceptive clinic in the United States. She was also the first to envisage a contraceptive that women could take in a pill form and was behind the development of the first oral contraceptive. Sanger first became involved in campaigning for birth control after working as a nurse on the Lower East Side in New York which brought her into close contact with poverty-stricken mothers dying in childbirth due to uncontrolled fertility and unsafe abortions. 1879-09-14T00:00:00+0000A trained botanist and geologist, Stopes was the first female academic to get a position at the University of Manchester where she conducted research on plant palaeontology and coal classification. She is best known for her campaigning work to make birth control available to women. In 1921 she helped to open the first clinic in London that offered birth control advice and dispensed contraception to poor mothers.1880-10-15T00:00:00+0000Just was an African-American biologist and embryologist whose pioneering work on marine mammal cell fertilisation advanced the understanding of cell division, asexual reproduction, hydration and dehydration in living cells. This work helped to demonstrate the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms. His work also showed the effect of ultra violet rays on egg cells. Unable to gain an appointment at an American university of account of racial discrimination, Just moved firstly to Italy and then to Germany and France to continue his research. 1883-08-14T00:00:00+0000Julian was a chemist who was a renowned pioneer of pharmacological synthesis. He was the first African-American granted a doctoral degree in chemistry and the first to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. In 1935 he achieved the first synthesis of physostigmine. This he produced from soybean oil. The drug is used to treat glaucoma and delayed gastric emptying. A year later he joined the Gidden Company in Chicago where he oversaw the development of the industrial large-scale chemical synthesis of the human sex hormones progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone from soybean plant sterols. This work laid the foundation for the industrial production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and the oral contraceptive pill. Julian left Gidden in 1953 to found his own company, Julian Laboratories Inc. 1899-04-11T00:00:00+0000Butenandt was a biochemist. In 1931 he managed to extract estrone and other primary female sex hormones from urine. Three years later he extracted progeterone and testosterone a year later. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1939 for his discovery of sex hormones. Initially Butenandt rejected the Prize in accordance with Nazi government policy, but accepted it in 1949. His involvement with the Nazi regime and science to aid its war efforts led to criticism after World War II. He served as the president of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science between 1960 and 1972. 1903-03-24T00:00:00+0000Pincus was a biologist. He first came to public attention in 1934 when he announced the creation of baby rabbits with in vitro fertilisation. His technique involved the removal of an ovum from the mother rabbit, soaking it in a solution with a mixture of saline and estrone and then placing it back in the rabbit. The experiment could not be repeated by other scientists and prompted wide-scale condemnation. It cost him his tenure position at Harvard University. In order to continue his research Pincus helped found the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in 1944, where he led the development of the first contraceptive pill in the early 1950s. 1903-04-09T00:00:00+0000Studying the mealworm, Stevens found that males made reproductive cells with both X and Y chromosomes whereas the females made only those with X. NM Stevens, 'Studies in spermatogenesis with special reference to the accessory chromosome', Studies in Sermatogenesis (Washington, DC, 1905), 1-32. 1905-01-01T00:00:00+0000Mazia was a cell biologist whose passion was to understand how cells reproduce. As a doctoral researcher he was one of the first to establish the role of calcium in the egg activation in the process of fertilisation. Following this worked on the process of cell division, structure and division. He is best known for the work he did in 1931 which helped identify the cell structure responsible for mitosis, the process when a eukaryotic cell divides chromosomes into two identical daughter cells. Mazia also determined how the nucleus and chromosomes change during the cell cycle.1912-12-18T00:00:00+0000The work was carried out by Albert Brachet at the Brussels School of Embryology at the Warocque Institute of Anatomy. 1913-01-01T00:00:00+0000Steptoe was an obstetrtician and gynaecologist who co-pioneered in vitro fertilization, the technique that produced the first test tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. This involved collecting ova from Louise's mother using laparoscopy. While Steptoe faced a lot of criticism for his work, many clinics began offering IVF following the birth of Louise. 1913-06-09T00:00:00+0000Hertwig was a German biologist who determined that fertilisation starts when the nuclei of sperm and ovum cells fuse. This he proved in 1876 through experiments with sea urchins. Eight years later he demonstrated, through investigations of frog eggs, that the cell divides along its long axis. He was also prescient in predicting, in 1885, that the nucleic acid is the substance responsible for fertilisation and the transmission of hereditary traits. This phenomenon was proven in 1944. 1922-10-25T00:00:00+0000The concept, known as ectogenesis, was first put forward by JBS Haldane, a geneticist and biochemist, to the Heretics Society at the University of Cambridge.1923-01-01T00:00:00+0000Djerassi trained as a chemist and became known for his work in the chemistry of steroids, structure of alkaloids, antibiotics and terpenoids. He helped synthesised drugs like antihistamines, oral contraceptives and anti-inflammatory compounds. In 1951 Djerassi synthesised the progestin noethisterone together with Luis Miramontes. The compound was first introduced for the treatment of gynaecological disorders and then combined with an oestrogen for use as an oral contraceptive pill in 1963. Refused Austrian citizenship after Anschluss because of his Jewish background, Djerassi escaped the Naxi regime by fleeing to Bulgaria with his mother where they stayed for a year before moving to the USA.1923-10-29T00:00:00+0000Loeb was a German-American physiologist and biologist who demonstrated the possibility of reproduction without male fertilisation, parthenogenesis, in sea urchin eggs. He found it was possible to stimulate embryonic development in the eggs of sea urchins without sperm by making slight chemical changes to the water where the eggs were kept. This he discovered while conducting experiments at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. His results were published in 'Activation of the unfertilized egg by ultra-violet rays', Science, 40/1036 (1914), 680-1. While Loeb was nominated for the Nobel Prize many times he never won. 1924-02-11T00:00:00+0000Miramontes was a chemist. He is best known for having helped synthesise noresthindrone, one of the first compounds used as an oral contraceptive. This he did in 1951 when he was 26 years old. He did the worlk while based at Syntex, a small Mexican company that first made its name in the production of steroids. 1925-03-16T00:00:00+0000Edwards won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2010 for the part he played in perfecting the in vitro fertilisation of the human egg. His work helped the development of IVF which made possible the birth of Louise Brown, the world's first 'test-tube' baby in 1978. Edwards first began his work in the area in the 1950s. Initially met with great resistance, Edwards' efforts helped break down the social taboos surrounding infertility. Millions of babies have now been created with the help of IVF since 1978. 1925-09-27T00:00:00+0000McLaren was a major pioneer in the development of IVF. She was also the key architect behind the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act (1990) which provided the world’s first legal guidelines for infertility treatment and all human embryo research. Following this Act, McLaren served for 10 years on the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority, established in 1991, and became a critical player in debates about the governance of embryonic stem cells for therapy. She also made history in 1991 by becoming the Royal Society’s first woman officer. 1927-04-26T00:00:00+0000Gregory Pincus, an American biologist, reported that he had managed to fertilise rabbit eggs in vitro. Other scientists struggled to replicate his results which led some to say that his results were due to spontaneous egg activation, a common phenomenon in cultured rabbit eggs. Pincus was subsequently denied tenure at Harvard because of the controversial nature of his work. His research was published in G Pincus, EV Enzmann, 'Can mammalian eggs undergo normal development in vitro', PNAS USA, 20/2 (1934), 121–22.1934-01-04T00:00:00+0000Gregory Pincus and EV Enzmann found that when they isolated rabbit oocytes from the Graafian follicle and placed them in culture they spontaneously developed from the arrested dictyate stage to the metaphase-II stage.1935-01-01T00:00:00+0000The observation was reported by Gregory Pincus and Barbara Saunders, 'The comparative behavior of mammalian eggs in vivo and in vitro: VI. The maturation of human ovarian ova', Anat. Rec., 75 (1939), 537–45.1939-01-01T00:00:00+0000Just was an African-American biologist and embryologist whose pioneering work on marine mammal cell fertilisation advanced the understanding of cell division, asexual reproduction, hydration and dehydration in living cells. This work helped to demonstrate the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms. His work also showed the effect of ultra violet rays on egg cells. Unable to gain an appointment at an American university of account of racial discrimination, Just moved firstly to Italy and then to Germany and France to continue his research.1941-10-27T00:00:00+0000Known as capacitation, the changes that sperm undergo was first identified separately by Colin Austin and Min Chueh Chang. They showed that such changes happened to the sperm while in the female reproductive tract. Such changes enable the sperm to penetrate the outer layer of the egg and therefore fertilise it. 1951-01-01T00:00:00+0000A McLaren and J Biggers, 'Successful birth and development of mice cultivated in vitro and early embryos', 182 (1958), 877-78.1958-09-27T00:00:00+0000A trained botanist and geologist, Stopes was the first female academic to get a position at the University of Manchester where she conducted research on plant palaeontology and coal classification. She is best known for her campaigning work to make birth control available to women. In 1921 she helped to open the first clinic in London that offered birth control advice and dispensed contraception to poor mothers.1958-10-02T00:00:00+0000Min Chueh Chang successfully fertilised invitro eggs taken from a female black rabbit with sperm from male black rabbit. He then transferred the embryo into a surrogate mother which gave births to young rabbits. MC Chang, 'Fertilization of rabbit ova in in vitro', Nature, 184 (1959), 466-67. 1959-08-08T00:00:00+0000Sanger popularised the term 'birth control' and opened the first contraceptive clinic in the United States. She was also the first to envisage a contraceptive that women could take in a pill form and was behind the development of the first oral contraceptive. Sanger first became involved in campaigning for birth control after working as a nurse on the Lower East Side in New York which brought her into close contact with poverty-stricken mothers dying in childbirth due to uncontrolled fertility and unsafe abortions.1966-09-06T00:00:00+0000Pincus was a biologist. He first came to public attention in 1934 when he announced the creation of baby rabbits with in vitro fertilisation. His technique involved the removal of an ovum from the mother rabbit, soaking it in a solution with a mixture of saline and estrone and then placing it back in the rabbit. The experiment could not be repeated by other scientists and prompted wide-scale condemnation. It cost him his tenure position at Harvard University. In order to continue his research Pincus helped found the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in 1944, where he led the development of the first contraceptive pill in the early 1950s. 1967-08-22T00:00:00+0000McCormick was one of the first American women to earn a biology degree from MIT. She went on to become a prominent suffragist and philanthropist who played a significant role in the development of the first oral contraceptive pill. She provided $2 million of her own money for the development of the pill, first approved for gynaecological disorders in 1957. McCormick continued to provide funding to improve birth control once the pill was approved.1967-12-28T00:00:00+0000Julian was a chemist who was a renowned pioneer of pharmacological synthesis. He was the first African-American granted a doctoral degree in chemistry and the first to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. In 1935 he achieved the first synthesis of physostigmine. This he produced from soybean oil. The drug is used to treat glaucoma and delayed gastric emptying. A year later he joined the Gidden Company in Chicago where he oversaw the development of the industrial large-scale chemical synthesis of the human sex hormones progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone from soybean plant sterols. This work laid the foundation for the industrial production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and the oral contraceptive pill. Julian left Gidden in 1953 to found his own company, Julian Laboratories Inc.1975-04-19T00:00:00+0000The baby, Louise Joy Brown, was born after her mother, Lesley, received treatment for infertility that resulted from blocked fallopian tubes. She had been trying to conceive for 9 years. Later known as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), the procedure Lesley received involved removing an egg from her ovary, fertilising it a Petri dish and then having it replanting it into her, The technique was developed by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards. Four years after Louise was born, Lesley gave birth to another daughter, Natalie, the world's 40th child conceived with IVF. 1978-07-25T00:00:00+0000The technique was developed by Martin Evans and Matt Kaufman. They showed that by delaying implantation it was possible to obtain slightly enlarged mouse blastocysts and that cells taken from these blastocysts could be used to establish mouse embryo stem cell cultures. The work was published in MJ Evans, MH Kaufman, 'Establishment in culture of pluripotential cells from mouse embryos', Nature, 292/154 (1981), 154-56.1981-07-09T00:00:00+0000A team led by John Buster at UCLA Medical Center successfully non-surgically transferred an embryo from one human to another. The procedure was used to help an infertile woman. She received the embryo donated by another woman. In contrast to the in vitro procedure as was used in the Louise Brown case—in which the mother’s egg is fertilised by the father’s sperm outside the womb—the transplant pregnancy started with in vitro fertilisation.1984-02-03T00:00:00+0000Steptoe was an obstetrtician and gynaecologist who co-pioneered in vitro fertilization, the technique that produced the first test tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. This involved collecting ova from Louise's mother using laparoscopy. While Steptoe faced a lot of criticism for his work, many clinics began offering IVF following the birth of Louise. 1988-03-21T00:00:00+0000Butenandt was a German biochemist. In 1931 he managed to extract estrone and other primary female sex hormones from urine. Three years later he extracted progeterone and testosterone a year later. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1939 for his discovery of sex hormones. Initially Butenandt rejected the Prize in accordance with Nazi government policy, but accepted it in 1949. His involvement with the Nazi regime and science to aid its war efforts led to criticism after World War II. He served as the president of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science between 1960 and 1972.1995-01-18T00:00:00+0000Mazia was an American cell biologist whose passion was to understand how cells reproduce. As a doctoral researcher he was one of the first to establish the role of calcium in the egg activation in the process of fertilisation. Following this worked on the process of cell division, structure and division. He is best known for the work he did in 1931 which helped identify the cell structure responsible for mitosis, the process when a eukaryotic cell divides chromosomes into two identical daughter cells. Mazia also determined how the nucleus and chromosomes change during the cell cycle. 1996-06-09T00:00:00+0000Miramontes was a Mexican chemist. He is best known for having helped synthesise noresthindrone, one of the first compounds used as an oral contraceptive. This he did in 1951 when he was 26 years old. He did the worlk while based at Syntex, a small Mexican company that first made its name in the production of steroids. 2004-09-13T00:00:00+0000McLaren was a major pioneer in the development of IVF. She was also the key architect behind the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act (1990) which provided the world’s first legal guidelines for infertility treatment and all human embryo research. Following this Act, McLaren served for 10 years on the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority, established in 1991, and became a critical player in debates about the governance of embryonic stem cells for therapy. She also made history in 1991 by becoming the Royal Society’s first woman officer. 2007-07-07T00:00:00+0000W Hu et al, 'p53 regulates maternal reproduction through LIF', Nature, 450 (2007), 721–4.2007-11-01T00:00:00+0000Born in Austria, Djerassi trained as a chemist and became known for his work in the chemistry of steroids, structure of alkaloids, antibiotics and terpenoids. He helped synthesised drugs like antihistamines, oral contraceptives and anti-inflammatory compounds. In 1951 Djerassi synthesised the progestin noethisterone together with Luis Miramontes. The compound was first introduced for the treatment of gynaecological disorders and then combined with an oestrogen for use as an oral contraceptive pill in 1963. Refused Austrian citizenship after Anschluss because of his Jewish background, Djerassi escaped the Naxi regime by fleeing to Bulgaria with his mother where they stayed for a year before moving to the USA.2015-01-30T00:00:00+0000NIH issued its ban after researchers in China announced experiments altering the gene in non-viable zygotes. 2015-04-15T00:00:00+0000S. Ellys Harrison, B. Sozen, N. Christodoulou, C. Kyprianou, M. Zernicka-Goetz, 'Assembly of embryonic and extra-embryonic stem cells to mimic embryogenesis in vitro', Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.aal1810 2017-03-03T00:00:00+0000M. Hong, N. Marti-Gutierrez, S-W Park, et al, 'Correction of a pathogenic gene mutation in human embryos', Nature, doi:10.1038/nature233052017-08-02T00:00:00+0000UK scientists modified 41 embryos shortly after fertilisation. N.M.E. Fogarty et al, 'Genome editing reveals a role for OCT4 in human embryogenesis', Nature, doi:10.1038/nature240332017-09-20T00:00:00+0000P. Liang, et al, 'Correction of beta-thalassemia mutant by base editor in human embryos', Protein and Cell (2017), doi.org/10.1007/s13238-017-0475-6.2017-09-23T00:00:00+0000The work was undertaken by a group of researchers at the University of Edinburgh led by Evelyn Telfer. It involved taking tiny pieces of ovarian tissue from 10 women undergoing elective caesarean surgery extracting priorial follicles, small structures that have the potential to release an egg, which were then placed in a nutrient-rich liquid to grow. The team then carefully removed the fragile, immature eggs and some surrounding cells from the follicles and placed them on a special membrane with the addition of growth-supporting proteins so that they could grow to become the size you would see of an egg during ovulation. Most of the eggs failed to grow, but 10% completed their journey to maturity - that is they were able to divide and halve their chromosomes so they were ready to be fertilised by sperm. The work was published in M McLaughlin, DF Albertini, WHB Wallace, RA Anderson, EE Telfer, Molecular Human Reproduction, 24/3 (March 2018) 135-42. DOI: 10.1093/molehr/gay002. 2018-01-30T00:00:00+0000He Jiankui, a genome-editing researcher at Southern University of Science and Technology of China, reported transplanting embryos into a woman that he had edited with CRISPR-Cas9 to disable a gene called CCR5, to disable the genetic pathway HIV uses to infect cells. More than 100 Chinese biomerical researchers condemned the experiment and called on Chinese authorities to investigate the case and introduce strict regulations. 2018-11-24T00:00:00+0000The recommendation was based on advice from WHO's 18 member expert advisory committee on human genome editing. 2019-07-30T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places
1561Fallopian tubes described for first timeFallopioUniversity of Padua
1566Fallopian tubes discovered to extend from the uterus to the ovariesFallopioUniversity of Padua
1651First time idea put forward that all organisms start life in an eggHarvey 
1671First description of the uterus and ovariesSwammerdam 
1672First time Fallopian tubes shown to carry products of the ovary to the uterusde Graaf 
1 Nov 1677First time living sperm observedLeeuwenhoek  
16 Oct 1708Albrecht von Haller was born in Bern, Switzerlandvon HallerUniversity of Gottingen
1768Theory of spontaneous generation shown to be incorrectSpallanzaniUniversity of Padua
1770First report of artificial insemination in a humanHunterSt George's Hospital
1770Fertilising function of sperm revealedSpallanzaniUniversity of Padua
12 Dec 1777Albrecht von Haller diedvon HallerUniversity of Gottingen
1779Filtering process found to remove the fertility of frog spermSpallanzaniUniversity of Padua
1785First successful artificial insemination in animalsSpallanzaniUniversity of Pavia
17 Feb 1792Karl Ernst von Baer was born in Piep estate, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (now Piibe, Estonia)von BaerSt Petersburg Academy of Sciences
1800Sperm shown to be produced in the testisPrevost, Dumas 
1826First observation of a mammalian egg in the ovaryvon Baer Konigsberg University
1827Term 'spermatozoa' introduced for the first timevon BaerSt Petersburg Academy of Sciences
21 Apr 1849Oskar Hertwig was born in Friedberg, GermanyHertwigFriedberg, Germany
7 Apr 1859Jacques Loeb was born in Mayen, Germany LoebRockefeller University
27 Aug 1875Katherine McCormick bornMcCormickMassachusetts Institute of Technology
28 Nov 1876Karl Ernst von Baer diedvon BaerSt Petersburg Academy of Sciences
1879Sperm entry into the egg observedHertwig, Fol 
14 Sep 1879Margaret Sanger was born inCorning, New York, USA Margaret Sanger 
15 Oct 1880Marie Stopes was born in Edinburgh, ScotlandStopesManchester University
14 Aug 1883Ernest E Just was born in Charleston, South Carolina, USA JustHoward University, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
11 Apr 1899Percy Lavon Julian was born in Montgomery, Alabama, USAJulianHarvard University
24 Mar 1903Adolf F J Butenandt was born in Bremerhaven, GermanyButenandtMax Planck Institute
9 Apr 1903Gregory Pincus was born in Woodbine, NJ, USAPincusHarvard University, Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
1905Nettie Stevens showed that sex is inherited by a chromosomal factor and that males determine the gender of offspringStevens 
18 Dec 1912Daniel Mazia was born Scranton, PA, USAMaziaUniversity of California Berkeley
1913First successful culture preimplantation of mammalian embryosBrachtWaroque Institute
9 Jun 1913Patrick Steptoe was born in Oxford, United KingdomSteptoeOxford, United Kingdom
25 Oct 1922Oskar Hertwig diedHertwig 
1923Idea that embryos could be developed in artificial conditions outside the uterusJBS HaldaneUniversity of Cambridge
29 Oct 1923Carl Djerassi was born in Vienna, AustriaDjerassiSyntex, Stanford University
11 Feb 1924Jacques Loeb diedLoebRockefeller University
16 Mar 1925Luis Ernesto Miramontes was born in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico MiramontesSyntex
27 Sep 1925Robert G Edwards born in Batley, United KingdomRobert EdwardsCambridge University, Oldham Hospital
26 Apr 1927Anne McLaren was born in London, United KingdomMcLarenUniversity College London, Edinburgh University, Cambridge University
4 Jan 1934First reported attempt of IVF in a mammal Pincus, EnzmannHarvard University
1935Rabbit oocytes shown to resume meiosis spontaneously in culturePincus, EnzmannHarvard University
1939Human occytes shown to complete meiosis in vitroPincus, SaundersHarvard University
27 Oct 1941Ernest E Just diedJustHoward University, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
1951Sperm found to need to undergo biochemical and physiological changes in order to fertilise eggChang, AustinCSIRO Division of Animal Health, Worcester Foundation
27 Sep 1958First successful IVF in miceMcLaren, BiggersUniversity College London
2 Oct 19581958: Marie Stopes diedStopesUniversity of Manchester, University College London
8 Aug 1959First unequivocal demonstration of IVF in the rabbitChangWorcester Foundation
6 Sep 1966Margaret Sanger diedMargaret Sanger 
22 Aug 1967Gregory Pincus diedPincusHarvard University, Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
28 Dec 1967Katherine McCormick diedMcCormickMassachusetts Institute of Technology
19 Apr 1975Percy Lavon Julian diedJulianHarvard University
25 Jul 1978First test-tube baby was bornEdwards, Steptoe 
9 Jul 1981Mouse embryonic stem cells first isolated and cultured in the laboratoryEvans, Kaufman, MartinCambridge University
3 Feb 1984First human embryo-transfer baby bornBusterUniversity California Los Angeles
21 Mar 1988Patrick Steptoe diedSteptoe 
18 Jan 1995Adolf F J Butenandt diedButenandtMax Planck Institute
9 Jun 1996Daniel Mazia diedMaziaUniversity of California Berkeley
13 Sep 2004Luis Ernesto Miramontes diedMiramontesSyntex
7 Jul 2007Anne McLaren died McLarenUniversity College London, Edinburgh University, Cambridge University
November 2007p53 shown to be required for embryo implantationHu, Feng, Teresky, LevineCancer Institute of New Jersey
30 Jan 2015Carl Djerassi diedDjerassiSyntex, Stanford University
15 Apr 2015National Institutes of Health declared it will not fund any use of genome editing technologies in human embryos 
3 Mar 2017Cambridge scientists report the development of an aritificial mouse embryo using stem cellsUniversity of Cambridge
2 Aug 2017Research published demonstrating possibility of editing gene defect in pre-implanted human embryos for preventing inherited heart diseaseHong, Marti-Gutierrez, Park, Mitalipov, Kaul, Kim, Amato, BelmonteOregon Health & Science University, Salk Institute, Center for Genome Engineering, Seoul National University, China National GeneBank,
September 2017DNA of human embryos edited using CRISPR-Cas9 to study cause of infertilityFogarty, McCarthy, Snijders, Powell, Kubikova, Blakeley, Lea, Elder, Wamaitha, Kim, Maciulyte, Kleinjung, Kim, Wells, Vallier, Bertero, Turner, NiakanFrancis Crick Instiitute, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Seoul National University
23 Sep 2017Chinese researchers report correction of gene linked to beta thalassaemia, inherited blood disorder, in human embryos using base editing techniqueLiang, Ching, Sun, Xie, Xu, Zhang, Xhiong, Ma, Liu, Wang, Fang, Songyang, Zhou, HuangSun Yat-sen University, Baylor College of Medicine
30 Jan 2018First human eggs grown in laboratoryTelfer, McLaughlin, Albertini, Wallace, AndersonUniversity of Edinburg
24 Nov 2018First gene-edited babies announced by Chinese scientistJiankuiSouthern University of Science and Technology of China
30 Jul 2019World Health Organisation called on countries to ban experiments that would lead to more gene-edited babies 

1561

Fallopian tubes described for first time

1566

Fallopian tubes discovered to extend from the uterus to the ovaries

1651

First time idea put forward that all organisms start life in an egg

1671

First description of the uterus and ovaries

1672

First time Fallopian tubes shown to carry products of the ovary to the uterus

1 Nov 1677

First time living sperm observed

16 Oct 1708

Albrecht von Haller was born in Bern, Switzerland

1768

Theory of spontaneous generation shown to be incorrect

1770

First report of artificial insemination in a human

1770

Fertilising function of sperm revealed

12 Dec 1777

Albrecht von Haller died

1779

Filtering process found to remove the fertility of frog sperm

1785

First successful artificial insemination in animals

17 Feb 1792

Karl Ernst von Baer was born in Piep estate, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (now Piibe, Estonia)

1800

Sperm shown to be produced in the testis

1826

First observation of a mammalian egg in the ovary

1827

Term 'spermatozoa' introduced for the first time

21 Apr 1849

Oskar Hertwig was born in Friedberg, Germany

7 Apr 1859

Jacques Loeb was born in Mayen, Germany

27 Aug 1875

Katherine McCormick born

28 Nov 1876

Karl Ernst von Baer died

1879

Sperm entry into the egg observed

14 Sep 1879

Margaret Sanger was born inCorning, New York, USA

15 Oct 1880

Marie Stopes was born in Edinburgh, Scotland

14 Aug 1883

Ernest E Just was born in Charleston, South Carolina, USA

11 Apr 1899

Percy Lavon Julian was born in Montgomery, Alabama, USA

24 Mar 1903

Adolf F J Butenandt was born in Bremerhaven, Germany

9 Apr 1903

Gregory Pincus was born in Woodbine, NJ, USA

1905

Nettie Stevens showed that sex is inherited by a chromosomal factor and that males determine the gender of offspring

18 Dec 1912

Daniel Mazia was born Scranton, PA, USA

1913

First successful culture preimplantation of mammalian embryos

9 Jun 1913

Patrick Steptoe was born in Oxford, United Kingdom

25 Oct 1922

Oskar Hertwig died

1923

Idea that embryos could be developed in artificial conditions outside the uterus

29 Oct 1923

Carl Djerassi was born in Vienna, Austria

11 Feb 1924

Jacques Loeb died

16 Mar 1925

Luis Ernesto Miramontes was born in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico

27 Sep 1925

Robert G Edwards born in Batley, United Kingdom

26 Apr 1927

Anne McLaren was born in London, United Kingdom

4 Jan 1934

First reported attempt of IVF in a mammal

1935

Rabbit oocytes shown to resume meiosis spontaneously in culture

1939

Human occytes shown to complete meiosis in vitro

27 Oct 1941

Ernest E Just died

1951

Sperm found to need to undergo biochemical and physiological changes in order to fertilise egg

27 Sep 1958

First successful IVF in mice

2 Oct 1958

1958: Marie Stopes died

8 Aug 1959

First unequivocal demonstration of IVF in the rabbit

6 Sep 1966

Margaret Sanger died

22 Aug 1967

Gregory Pincus died

28 Dec 1967

Katherine McCormick died

19 Apr 1975

Percy Lavon Julian died

25 Jul 1978

First test-tube baby was born

9 Jul 1981

Mouse embryonic stem cells first isolated and cultured in the laboratory

3 Feb 1984

First human embryo-transfer baby born

21 Mar 1988

Patrick Steptoe died

18 Jan 1995

Adolf F J Butenandt died

9 Jun 1996

Daniel Mazia died

13 Sep 2004

Luis Ernesto Miramontes died

7 Jul 2007

Anne McLaren died

Nov 2007

p53 shown to be required for embryo implantation

30 Jan 2015

Carl Djerassi died

15 Apr 2015

National Institutes of Health declared it will not fund any use of genome editing technologies in human embryos

3 Mar 2017

Cambridge scientists report the development of an aritificial mouse embryo using stem cells

2 Aug 2017

Research published demonstrating possibility of editing gene defect in pre-implanted human embryos for preventing inherited heart disease

Sep 2017

DNA of human embryos edited using CRISPR-Cas9 to study cause of infertility

23 Sep 2017

Chinese researchers report correction of gene linked to beta thalassaemia, inherited blood disorder, in human embryos using base editing technique

30 Jan 2018

First human eggs grown in laboratory

24 Nov 2018

First gene-edited babies announced by Chinese scientist

30 Jul 2019

World Health Organisation called on countries to ban experiments that would lead to more gene-edited babies