In Vitro Fertilization

Fertilized Egg

One of the eggs found during the Rock-Hertig Study, still attached to endometrial tissue, circa 1945

Another project was under way at the same time by Rock and Miriam Menkin that focused on in-vitro fertilization. Gregory Pincus had previously performed successful in-vitro fertilization studies with rabbits earlier in his career at Harvard. The project gave hope to infertile couples, but some also feared the future implications of this “fatherless” technology.

Test tube sketch for Miriam Menkin, and Human OVA plan


These notes outline the procedures for the year’s work on in-vitro fertilization. Along with the outline came a test tube sketch from James Snodgrass to Miriam Menkin.

Miriam Menkin with her daughter Lucy


With Miriam Menkin, Rock paved the way for the million-plus children since conceived through in vitro fertilization. With eggs harvested from consenting women having hysterectomies, Menkin fertilized the first egg in vitro in 1944.

In Vitro Fertilization Notes

Summary list by John Rock of research suggestions for in vitro fertilization from Drs. Pincus and Werthessen, 1943

As the IVF experiments continued, adjustments were considered from the initial protocols established in 1941.

In Vitro Fertilization