Who is Louise Brown? She was the world’s first “test tube baby”.
Louise Joy Brown (born 25 July 1978) is an English woman known for being the first human to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilisation, or IVF. Her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to conceive for nine years, but faced complications caused by blocked fallopian tubes. On 10 November 1977, Lesley underwent a new procedure, later to become known as in vitro fertillisation, developed by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards.
Louise was born July 25 1978, weighing 5 pounds 12 ounces. Her younger sister, Natalie Brown, was also conceived through IVF four years later, and became the world’s fortieth IVF baby. In May 1999, Natalie was the first IVF baby to give birth herself—naturally—to daughter Casey.
From a 2008 BBC article on the occasion of her 30th birthday:
Louise says as a child in Bristol, she got used to all the media attention. She was recognised in the street and got used to some strange questions. She said: “When I was growing up they would ask things like how do you fit in a test tube and things like that!”
These days she rarely thinks about her iconic status as the first of more than three million IVF babies born worldwide. “It’s quite scary to think I’m the first of them all, but it’s also a nice feeling that perhaps if I hadn’t been born then all those people wouldn’t be here, and IVF has helped so many couples.”