Patient Care

Strong Fertility Center Marks IVF Program’s 30-Year Anniversary by Honoring its Founder

Apr. 30, 2013
Dr. Henry Thiede’s Vision Launched One of New York State’s Most Successful Programs
Professor Emeritus Henry A. Thiede, M.D., Retired Chair, Ob/Gyn

Just four short years after the birth of the world’s first “test-tube baby,” Henry A. Thiede, M.D., proposed the creation of an in vitro fertilization program (IVF), at the University of Rochester Medical Center. IVF is a process by which eggs are fertilized in a laboratory and then transferred to a woman’s uterus in order to implant for pregnancy. 

This Friday, May 3, URMC’s Strong Fertility Center will celebrate 30 years of helping families grow through IVF by honoring Thiede. A retired chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and professor emeritus, Thiede’s vision helped create one of the first in vitro fertilization programs in New York state. Thiede’s contributions will be highlighted at Strong Fertility Center’s annual IVF Family Reunion, a private party scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

“It is a great privilege to pay tribute to the physician whose wisdom and vision launched one of the earliest successful programs for in vitro fertilization and the longest-running program in upstate New York,” said Strong Fertility Center director Kathleen M. Hoeger, M.D., professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at URMC. “What better way to show our appreciation than to surround Dr. Thiede with the physicians and staff he inspired and mentored, and the families who’ve benefitted from his commitment to providing optimal services to our community.”

Times-Union newspaper clipping, January 25, 1983

Following Thiede’s proposal in November 1982, physicians began the first IVF treatment cycle in July 1983, achieving the first pregnancy on the sixth attempt. The program’s first birth occurred in July 1984.

“When we reflect on those who have influenced our professional lives, we turn to individuals dedicated to improving medicine, public health and community welfare. Dr. Thiede spent his entire career addressing these three areas,” said James R. Woods, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology who holds the professorship in Thiede’s name. “It is his shoulders upon which the success of our Department rests.”

For more information about the Strong Fertility Center, please visit or call (585) 487-3378