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Louise Brown
Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Louise Brown

Biography
(1978–)
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Louise Brown is known as the world's first "test-tube baby," conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Who Is Louise Brown?

The IVF process that led to the conception of Louise Brown was hotly debated within medical and religious circles alike. IVF is still considered unethical by many religious groups, and the physicians who practice this method of fertilization continue to face accusations of "playing God." Nonetheless, Since Louise's birth in 1978, over 1 million children have been born using this procedure.

Early Life

Born July 25, 1978, in Oldham, England. Louise Joy Brown is best known as the world's first "test-tube baby." Her birth by Caesarian section shortly before midnight on July 25, 1978, at Oldham General Hospital in England, made headlines around the world.

IVF

Since 1968, Drs. Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe had been researching fertility methods that included artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, or IVF. IVF is the process in which an egg is removed from a woman??s ovaries, harvested and fertilized with a male's sperm in a laboratory, then implanted in the woman??s uterus where it develops to term. Although now widely accepted, the IVF process that ultimately led to the conception of Louise Brown was hotly debated within medical and religious circles alike. IVF is still considered unethical by many religious groups, and the physicians who practice this method of fertilization continue to face accusations of "playing God." Nonetheless, Since Louise's birth in 1978, over one million children have been born using the IVF procedure.

Recent Years

Louise is said to dislike the description of herself as a "test tube baby," yet she remains proud of her personal role in the advancement of medical science. She has declined numerous offers from newspapers and television journals to sell her story; and despite her extraordinary beginning, she has managed to lead an unassuming life. At the time of her 21st birthday in 1999, she was working in a Bristol nursery.

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Her younger sister, Natalie, was also conceived by IVF. Natalie, born four years after Louise, is the first in vitro baby to give birth. Her child was conceived naturally.

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