Born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1925, Luigi Mastroianni, Jr. graduated from Yale University in 1946 and obtained his MD from Boston University School of Medicine in 1950. He completed his internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Metropolitan Hospital in New York and then proceeded to a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology at Harvard Medical School and the Free Hospital for Women in Boston. He returned to Yale as an Assistant Professor. In 1961 he became Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harbor General Hospital and Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he continued to focus on the basic physiology of the oviduct. In 1965, he was appointed the William Goodell Professor and Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he established a Division of Reproductive Biology and a Division of Human Reproduction. Under his leadership, these Divisions made substantial contributions to the understanding of the female reproductive tract and the biology of male and female gametes, as well as to the treatment of infertility in both partners. The Reproductive Biology Division also provided research training for investigators from the USA and 25 other countries.
Professor Mastroianni dedicated his life to studying the causes of and solutions to human infertility problems. He studied the effects of proreactive hormones on ovulation and showed that clomiphene-induced ovulation in non-human primates could be used to increase the fertilization rate in women. His distinguished work on the physiology of the fallopian tube and the biochemistry of tubal fluid contributed significantly to the basic understanding of the requirements for successful fertilization, which was a major factor in developing successful human in vitro fertilization techniques. His groundbreaking animal studies in the 1970s paved the way for IVF. In 1983, he performed the first successful human in vitro fertilization in the Philadelphia region.
Mastroianni published numerous papers in international journals. His achievements in human reproduction research were widely recognized. In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Medicine, he received 15 other scientific prizes as well as the Ortho Medal, Barren Medal, University of Chile Medal, Career Achievement Award of the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Distinguished Service Award of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, Distinguished Service Award of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Axel Munthe Award and the Society for Gynecologic Investigation’s Distinguished Scientist Award. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and former chairman of its Committee on Contraceptive Development and honorary member of major international fertility societies. He was also an invited lecturer at many universities and scientific centers. Furthermore, he served as Editor-in-Chief of Fertility and Sterility and is a past President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. He died on November 25, 2008.