A message for ‘quietly determined’ women on a fertility journey

The first mother of IVF

Lesley Brown was so desperate to be a mother, she took a huge leap of faith and agreed to an experimental treatment being developed by Patrick Steptoe, Robert Edwards and Jean Purdy – the pioneers of IVF. Steptoe wrote at the time that Lesley was “quietly determined, strong in resolve, unlikely to panic and would suffer whatever was necessary with stoicism.”

To everyone’s delight the miracle treatment worked, and in 1978 Lesley gave birth to Louise, the world’s first test-tube baby – and became the first person to celebrate Mother’s Day with an IVF baby. The pioneers went on to establish Bourn Hall to give more couples this chance.

Louise was very close to her mother, and, now a mum herself, she pays tribute to her and all the ‘quietly determined women’ everywhere on their fertility journey and hope that they too achieve a happy Mother’s Day.

You can read more of this story in Louise’s autobiography ‘My Life as the World’s First Test-Tube Baby‘. 

Two mothers celebrating the Mother’s Day they thought would never come

Time slipping through their fingers

“I really struggled during lockdown,” says Vicki. “Everyone was getting pregnant. People laughed about how many babies were being conceived while everyone was at home, but it just made it more difficult for us because we were actively trying and nothing was happening. I got really upset, and then when restrictions eased I couldn’t bring myself to go to baby showers – it was too much for me.”  Vicki and her husband Joe were in their mid-thirties and felt time slipping through their fingers.

“I had heard that there was a backlog in the NHS just to get a GP referral for testing, and we didn’t have the time to wait for answers,” Vicki continues. The couple decided to self-refer for a Bourn Hall Fertility Health and Wellbeing Check and within ten months they welcomed twins Hugo and Harper into the world.

As they celebrate their first Mother’s Day, Vicki, now aged 35, says having the babies is “very emotional and surreal. I can’t believe how quickly our lives have changed. If we had gone to our GP we might still be waiting, who knows?”


Reshma was already in her thirties when her GP advised the couple to carry on trying to get pregnant naturally for two more years before she would be entitled to NHS hospital tests.

Fortunately, her husband’s company offered employees a benefit through Carrot Fertility which meant the couple were able to access the fertility treatment they needed from Bourn Hall, and the couple are now parents to a daughter, Vedhika.

Reshma says: “Our little girl was born in July. Over six months on, we feel every day that she is our biggest blessing and it still feels almost unreal that we are parents to our baby girl.

“IVF is just the most amazing medical advancement.

“There is a social media hashtag #madewithloveandscience and that is how I feel. I don’t know if I would have ever become a mum without IVF – we might still be trying…”

Reshma and Vinod with Vedhika [credit Gabriella Fuzi]
Reshma and Vinod with Vedhika [credit Gabriella Fuzi Photography: gabriellafuzi.com]

Don’t wait any longer

Bourn Hall offers self-funded fertility testing through our comprehensive Fertility Health + Wellbeing service.

If you are concerned about your fertility, arrange a consultation to begin your treatment planning.

For those eligible for NHS-funded IVF treatment, you can choose to have your IVF treatment at Bourn Hall under the NHS. In Norfolk you can be referred by your GP for fertility testing and diagnostics. Contact us to find out more.

Common causes of female infertility.

Common causes of male infertility.

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