The institute had a humble beginning in 1954 in the form of a Contraceptive Testing Unit. In 1970 it matured into an institute having a space of its own in the heart of central Mumbai with an unique identity which was then named as the ‘Institute for Research in Reproduction ‘(IRR).
Over the years, the Institute has made significant strides to develop newer contraceptives, both for the male and the female; generate information on the safety, efficacy and acceptability of available contraceptives in Indian population; and elucidate basic mechanisms underlying reproductive physiology. The Institute has also undertaken a number of studies on the social and behavioral aspects of fertility regulation with an aim to increase informed choices for women and to enable increased male participation in reproductive health matters. Reproductive tract infections (RTIs) including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among women has also been the focus of research. The Institute has added new research areas and modern technological innovations to its plethora of already existing expertise, leading to several significant research contributions including the birth of India 's first scientifically documented test tube baby.
Resurgence of the institute with a new name and renewed research interests
In 1977 the Government of India recognized the need to review its national programs on population stabilization and welfare of the families. This assessment resulted in the major paradigm shift. The focus was shifted from “family planning” to “family welfare”. This was followed by the landmark development in 1994 when India as a signatory to the International Conference on Population and Development declaration re-oriented the Family Welfare program to Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) program. The institute also responded to the above paradigm shift by widening the spectrum of its research activities. To make this major shift visible and reflected in the name of the institute, its name was changed from Institute for Research in Reproduction to National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health . The new name also reflects the national status accorded to the Institute in recognition of its scientific contributions. The Institute has also expanded its research mandate to reflect the initiation of multidisciplinary and comprehensive research avenues on almost all components of reproductive health as could be seen below.