The First Test Tube Baby
Since Louise was born,
Hello I’m Milo for About.com and today we’re talking about the world´s first test tube baby. The phrase “test tube baby” is a commonly used term to refer to the process also known as “in vitro fertilization” (or IVF). During this process, an egg is surgically taken from a woman´s ovary and fertilized with sperm under laboratory conditions outside of the body, after which it is returned to the woman´s uterus with the aim of establishing an otherwise normal pregnancy. Before the process was pioneered, many thousands of couples remained childless due to common causes such as problems in the female fallopian tubes or issues with the male sperm quality. After many years of work, it was at Oldham General Hospital near Manchester in England that the gynecologist and obstetrician Patrick Steptoe, along with his physiologist colleague, Robert Edwards, became the first to successfully take a pregnancy to full term. The resulting baby was named Louise Joy Brown and was born to proud parents Lesley and John Brown on the 25th July 1978 to worldwide media interest. The circumstances of Louise´s conception provoked a strong response in religious circles, with claims that the doctors were “playing God” and should not interfere in the process of conception. The Catholic church for example, to this day opposes all forms of IVF. However, since Louise was born, the use of IVF has become commonplace and many thousands of babies are born this way every year around the world. Louise´s own younger sister was conceived in the same way and went on to become the world´s first IVF baby to have a baby of her own, although her baby was conceived naturally. Despite her grand beginnings, Louise Brown has gone on to lead a quiet life. She married in 2004 and two years later, gave birth to her own child, naturally. Doctor Steptoe died in 1988, but his colleague Doctor Edwards went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2010 and was also knighted in 2011, becoming Sir Robert Edwards in recognition of his pioneering work.For more excellent, insightful, and interesting information on the 20th Century, check us out at About.com.