The world’s first birth after in vitro fertilization (IVF) turned 40 years old this Wednesday– Louise Brown was born at Oldham General Hospital in England on July, 25 1978. Making it a family affair, her younger sister, Natalie Brown, was born four years later and was the world’s fortieth IVF baby. These “medical miracles” were made possible by scientific breakthroughs which would result in a Nobel Prize and over 5 million babies world-wide.
Louise will always be known as the first “test tube baby” (Getty Images)
More than eight million people have now been born through IVF but – as the first – Louise was thrust into the limelight. Every milestone has been scrutinized and she has been on the receiving end of some of the best and worst aspects of human nature. However away from the media glare, her life is refreshingly normal and her children remain unfazed by her historic story. She told Metro.co.uk:
“I don’t know what it is like not to have the media chasing all the time and people all over the world knowing my name,” she told Metro UK. “There were times in my teenage years when I thought ‘why me?’ But I am used to it and most of the time I don’t even think about it.”
In 2004, Brown married nightclub doorman Wesley Mullinder. Dr. Edwards attended their wedding. Their son Cameron, conceived naturally, was born on 20 December 2006. Brown’s second son, Aiden Patrick Robert, was born in August 2013.
Brown’s father died in 2006. Her mother died on 6 June 2012 in Bristol Royal Infirmary at the age of 64 due to complications from a gallbladder infection.
Louise Brown (PA)
Louise with her parents Lesley and John following her birth at Oldham General Hospital. (PA)
Lesley and John Brown, with their daughter Louise Brown on July 25, 1978.
The team who pioneered in-vitro fertilization: on the left, Cambridge physiologist Dr Robert Edwards holding the world’s first test tube baby Louise Joy Brown and on the right, gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe. (Getty Images)
Lesley, John and Louise Brown return to Oldham General Hospital in 1979 to see the nurses that helped during her birth.
New mother, Lesley Brown, with her daughter, Louise, on Oct. 9, 1978. (Brian Bould/The Daily Mail)
Louise Brown, who turns 40 this week, was the first baby born through IVF. (PA)