It’s Women’s History Month

So let’s celebrate!

March is Women’s History Month! Who knows what reproductive medicine would look like if it weren’t for women? Women have been the force behind the advancement in reproductive medicine as researchers, scientists, physicians, business owners, surrogates and more in the fertility industry. It took 6 years from 1988 to 1994 for Congress to authorize the March as Women’s History Month. We fought to get recognition and would like to celebrate some remarkable women who have made an impact in fertility.
Let’s start with Trotula di Ruggiero, a physician and teacher born in the 11th century who was considered the first person to specialize in gynecology and obstetrics. Dr. Ruggiero was the first to publish that fertility problems did not always originate with women (what a revolutionary idea for that time!) and that menstruation was not the origin of women’s ailments. What a bold move by Dr. Ruggiero at that time, to not just believe it, but to share these thoughts with the world!

How could we not highlight Jean Purdy, the world’s first clinical embryologist? Purdy developed some of the most critical processes used in today’s IVF treatments and was the embryologist for the first IVF baby. Her role in clinical care and research helped to develop reproductive technologies used on patients around the world. Even after her passing in 1985, her mark on reproductive medicine is beyond compare.

Equality and care in maternal health has always been a calling for Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías. Dr. Rodriguez-Trías was the first Latina President of the American Health Association. She fought for many years to close gaps for women of color, and women of low-income who were forced into sterilization. She drafted ethical guidelines for sterilization which were enshrined into federal guidelines in 1979. While Dr. Rodriguez-Tiras passed in 2001, her work still lives on. It is because of her efforts that a patient’s written consent is required before undergoing a sterilization procedure.

For anyone who has gone through infertility treatment or a surrogacy journey, embryo testing is such a critical part of the process. Dr. Karen Sermon, a reproductive & genetics scientist, has played an important role in the progression of embryo testing. Dr. Sermon is the source of many breakthroughs in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and her work directly contributed to embryo transfer success rates. While her work has been published in some of the most important scientific journals in genetics and reproduction, her contributions continue as Chair on the board of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).

We celebrate Women’s History month to recognize the women who have made and continue to make their mark in reproductive medicine. We thank you!