Happy Birthday Louise Brown, the world’s first IVF baby! Louise is 35 today and we were delighted to welcome her back to help unveil a plaque to commemorate the work of our founders, IVF pioneers Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards.
Louise unveilled the plaque jointly with Alastair MacDonald, the world’s first IVF boy, and his mother Grace, Professor Edwards’ wife Ruth and his daughter Jenny and staff from Bourn Hall who worked with Steptoe and Edwards.
Grace MacDonald got in touch with Steptoe and Edwards after she read their research paper in The Lancet and volunteered, like hundreds of other women, to take part in their work.
“It is devastating to be told that you cannot have children,” she says. “I had planned my whole life around it. To me, Bob and Patrick were almost the most important people in my life for what they did for us and the kindness and interest they always showed. Having a son is everything I ever wished for.”
Louise Brown, reflecting on the last 35 years, told us: “It is difficult to say what it is like to be the first test-tube baby as I have been brought up with it. When I was born they all said it shouldn’t be done and that it was messing with nature, but it worked and I think it was meant to be.”
It is now estimated that around 5.5 million babies have been born worldwide as a result of IVF – a legacy all of us at Bourn Hall feel immensely proud of.