Jones Institute celebrates 40 years since the world’s first IVF baby


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — 4-year-old Grayson Wohl’s parents call her “jellybean.” 

They also refer to her as their $100,000 baby. 

“IVF babies I feel are a little extra … she’s wild, she’s wonderful, she is a ‘fournado’,” said mom Candance Wohl.

It took six failed IVF procedures at about $15,000 a pop and finally a surrogate using the procedure to bring their beautiful baby into the world. 

“You just stay reluctantly hopeful throughout the process, it’s all new, all scary, but also an opportunity,” said Chris Wohl, Grayson’s dad. 

As draining as the process was financially and emotionally, it has come a long way in four decades. “My best reward is when patients bring the babies, or at least they come and show me their bellies, it’s a rewarding story definitely,” said Dr. Silvina Bocca at the EVMS Jones Institute.

Dr. Bocca recalls the early years when patients perched on a bed with their knees to their chest for six hours. The procedure now takes about 10 minutes.and the future she says is promising for even more couples to conceive.

“There are a lot of techniques coming to say this uterus is ready to receive an embryo and this uterus is not,” the doctor told

While technology is improving outcomes, the price is going up. That’s because of the medications, which can cost up to $6,000. 

Most states do not mandate insurance coverage. 

“This is something we really need as a society is to treat infertility as a disease,” Candace said. 

She is now an advocate on Capitol Hill and runs a support group for parents. She and Chris want to help couples like them get their chance to become parents. “We fought for this and we know people want what we have now.”

The Jones Institute will celebrate 40 years of IVF on social media Wednesday.

They’ll post pictures and stories of IVF children and families on Instagram —  a new one every hour all day long.

You can also see pictures and stories on their Facebook page.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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