World’s First Test Tube Baby Born 1978
On this day in 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) is born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The healthy baby was delivered shortly before midnight by caesarean section and weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces.
Before giving birth to Louise, Lesley Brown had suffered years of infertility due to blocked fallopian tubes. In November 1977, she underwent the then-experimental IVF procedure. A mature egg was removed from one of her ovaries and combined in a laboratory dish with her husband’s sperm to form an embryo. The embryo then was implanted into her uterus a few days later. Her IVF doctors, British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and scientist Robert Edwards, had begun their pioneering collaboration a decade earlier. Once the media learned of the pregnancy, the Browns faced intense public scrutiny. Louise’s birth made headlines around the world and raised various legal and ethical questions.
The Browns had a second daughter, Natalie, several years later, also through IVF. In May 1999, Natalie became the first IVF baby to give birth to a child of her own. The child’s conception was natural, easing some concerns that female IVF babies would be unable to get pregnant naturally. In December 2006, Louise Brown, the original “test tube baby,” gave birth to a boy, Cameron John Mullinder, who also was conceived naturally.
Today, IVF is considered a mainstream medical treatment for infertility. Hundreds of thousands of children around the world have been conceived through the procedure, in some cases with donor eggs and sperm.
(More Events on This Day in History)
- 1780 General Gates takes command of the southern army
- 1941 Henry Ford writes fan letter to Mahatma Gandhi
- 1861 Congress passes Crittenden-Johnson Resolution
- 1969 The Nixon Doctrine is announced
- 1853 Head of frontier bandit placed on display
- 1988 A young man turns the death of his parents into a game
- 2000 Concorde jet crashes
- 1832 The first railroad accident
- 1898 Puerto Rico invaded
- 1956 Ships collide off Nantucket
- 1965 Dylan appears at Newport Folk Fest
- 1985 Rock Hudson announces he has AIDS
- 1897 Jack London sails for the Klondike
- 1965 Dylan goes electric at the Newport Folk Festival
- 1853 California Rangers kill Joaquin Murrieta
- 1945 Truman drops hint to Stalin about a terrible new weapon
- 1992 Opening of the XXV Olympiad in Barcelona
- 1964 Joint Chiefs propose air strikes
- 1969 Nixon announces new doctrine
World War I
- 1917 Mata Hari sentenced to die
World War II
- 1943 Mussolini falls from power