Photo Gallery: IVF: Five Families' Stories

Other Photo Galleries

Most people don’t consider the possibility that they might not be able to have a child. But for the millions of Americans diagnosed as infertile, a world of difficult choices awaits. Medical procedures that address infertility are expensive, often painful, sometimes dangerous, and don’t guarantee success.

http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_01.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_01_t.jpg|

Meet five families who share their thoughts on infertility, in vitro fertilization, and their own experiences.

|Corbis;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_02.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_02_t.jpg|

The Del-Zio's celebrate their wedding day in 1968. While they each had children from previous marriages, the couple wanted children of their own. Unfortunately, Doris developed an ovarian cyst that required surgery, and blocked fallopian tubes that prevented pregnancy.

|Doris and John Del-Zio;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_03.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_03_t.jpg|

The Del-Zios' failed attempt to undergo the first in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 1973 led to a highly publicized lawsuit, which they won in 1978. The couple never had children together.

|Doris and John Del-Zio;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_04.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_04_t.jpg|

"When you go to the doctor and he tells you that you're not going to be able to have a baby... it's like the world comes crashing down on you."

- Doris Del Zio

|Doris and John Del-Zio;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_05.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_05_t.jpg|

Larry Greil and his wife Barbara both endured medical procedures in their quest to conceive a child. After considering the costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the high chance of failure, they ultimately chose to adopt.

|Larry Greil;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_06.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_06_t.jpg|

Larry and Barbara Greil on their wedding day.

|Larry Greil;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_07.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_07_t.jpg|

"Adoption made sense to us because we just never cared much about genes... what we wanted was a baby."

- Larry Greil

|Larry Greil;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_08.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_08_t.jpg|

Carol Langer and her husband began trying to have children in 1976, after four years of marriage. After a number of tests, Carol found out that both of her fallopian tubes were blocked. Her attempts to conceive via in vitro fertilization (IVF) were unsuccessful.

|Carol Langer;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_09.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_09_t.jpg|

The Langers and their adopted children.

|Carol Langer;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_10.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_10_t.jpg|

"I was very surprised by my incredible desire to conceive and carry a child."

- Carol Langer

|Carol Langer;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_11.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_11_t.jpg|

Judy and Roger Carr's first attempts at conceiving a child resulted in ectopic pregnancies, which required the removal of Judy's fallopian tubes. Soon after, they met with Howard and Georgeanna Jones at their new in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic in Norfolk, Virginia.

|Judy and Roger Carr;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_12.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_12_t.jpg|

In 1981, the Carrs' successful pregnancy became the first American IVF success.

|WGBH;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_13.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_13_t.jpg|

"Our motivation wasn't to get into this to be the first. Our motivation was purely to have our own natural child, which we did."

- Roger Carr

|BBC/CBS;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_14.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_14_t.jpg|

"I tried seven attempts. And each one was unique, and I always was hopeful each time."

- Sarah Smith Houck

|Sarah Smith Houck;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_15.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_15_t.jpg|

Sarah Smith Houck married in 1974. She and her husband tried to start a family five years later, but after two years without results sought medical advice.

|Sarah Smith Houck;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_16.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/babies_gallery_16_t.jpg|

They were one of the first couples to try in vitro fertilization (IVF) at Howard and Georgeanna Jones' clinic. They successfully conceived a child with their eighth IVF procedure.

|Sarah Smith Houck

My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

We invite you to tell us your own stories - whether you lived through a tumultuous time period or learned about it from a relative, a book or a movie.