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World’s first Test Tube Baby - The Story Behind It

  • 4.8 (6 Votes)

The world welcomed its first test tube baby Louise Joy Brown who was conceived via In-Vitro Fertilization in the year 1978 in England. Her fathers sperm was fertilized with the egg from her mother in a laboratory and embryo thus formed was implanted into the uterus of her mother named Lesley Brown.

Lesley Brown was the mother to undergo a successful In-Vitro Fertilization and give the world its first test tube baby.  Louise Joy Brown was born in District General Hospital in Oldham, England. It was the experimental IVF process by British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and scientist Robert Edwards that went on to become a success eventually with the birth of Louise.

Medical debate that followed

The IVF process that led to the conception of Louise Brown had become the reason of medical debate. There are ethnic groups who do not agree with the idea of this scientific advancement in the field of ART as according to them it is something unethical and an attempt to play god. After Louise Brown, there are millions of babies who took successful birth through IVF and the technology keeps on making advancement with new techniques like TESA, MESA, Sperm/ Egg/ Embryo freezing being introduced to enhance its success. Here is the complete story about the evident history:

How it all started

In the midnight, with the cesarean process, the world’s first IVF baby weighing 5 pounds and 12 ounces was delivered. Before all this began, Lesley Brown, the mother, suffered years of infertility problem and blockage in the fallopian tube was the main cause behind it. In the month of November in the year 1977, Lesley underwent the experimental IVF process. The process involved a mature egg from one of the ovaries combined with husband’s sperm to form an embryo. The combination in the laboratory dish was implanted into Lesley uterus a few days later.

first ivf baby

The famous scientist Robert Edward in collaboration with doctor Patrick Steptoe ran a long research on various fertility methods such as artificial insemination and IVF before coming up with the process plan. They both had to face a lot of hurdles and answer multiple questions after the process was formally introduced and put into use in the case of Louise. Lesley’s pregnancy found its place in headlines in almost every newspaper and was much talked about not only in the country but also across the entire world.  

Lesley and Peter Brown had their second child, a daughter, via IVF called Natalie. She went on to be the first IVF baby who conceived naturally in the later stage of life and gave birth a normal healthy child. She gave birth in May 1999. This led to the change of mind of many people that believed that an IVF baby couldn’t conceive or give birth to a normal child or even have a normal pregnancy.

After her sister, the world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown gave birth to a baby boy in December 2006. Louise Brown’s son, Cameron John Mullinder took a natural birth and was conceived naturally. The greatest examples of babies of first test tube baby, Louise, and her daughter left the world to believe in the experimental miracle.

Louise and her sister’s upbringing was normal despite being a test-tube baby or IVF procedure children. Louis knew her own story of being an IVF baby through the media interview of her parents. And her home life with her parents and younger sister was normal without any hurdles.Louise Joy Brown continues to live a happy married life with her two children that were born naturally. Her parents Mr. And Mrs. Brown are not anymore. Her father died in the year 2007 while her mother Lesley Brown died on 6th June 2012 in Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Revolution Caused by the IVF Thereafter

Successful birth of Louise Brown achieved by Robert Edward and Dr. Patrick Steptoe set an example and hopes to all those couples looking forward to parenthood with the use of this technology.  Thereafter, IVF came to be considered as the mainstream medical process for infertile couples to undergo IVF treatment. Thousands of births take place around the world by deploying different IVF and other related techniques that have been developed over the time.

successful birth of Louise Brown

Other Historical Developments in the IVF

Freezing techniques

The development of freezing technique came in the 1980s and it proved to be very helpful for the doctors as they could now limit the number of embryos to be implanted into the uterus to be just one or two to avoid multiple pregnancies and keep them safe for future usage. This technique is extremely useful as it can skip the process of egg retrieval during the future use. There is a significant progress in the imaging techniques that include monitoring using ultrasound to observe the growth and development of eggs prior to retrieval as compared to the laparoscopic surgical method to do the same.

Sperm Retrieval Techniques

Development of TESA (Testicular Epididymal Sperm Aspiration) also brought about a great change by attending to male infertility where selected sperm is injected into the egg to form a healthy embryo.

sperm retrieval techniques

Use of Donor Eggs/ Sperm/ Embryo

For women, who do not produce their own eggs due to various reasons, or men who have poor sperm count or quality concern, use of donor egg and sperm is a boon.  

The ART has since ever been deployed throughout the world to treat different kinds of fertility both in men and women.

Physiologist Robert Edwards won the prestigious Noble Prize in the field of medical science for his contribution in the pioneering work.

First test tube baby came up as an answer to the doubts and questions about the health and normality of the baby as well as the viability of the IVF treatment.

Answers to the questions about test tube baby are available by experts at Elawoman.

IVF, even today is considered as an unethical process by many ethnic groups for different purposes, religion being one of them.  For rest of the others, the IVF and the fertility process is a miracle of God. Now, Louise is almost more than 40 years and she was able to conceive both her sons quite normally. There was no problem or complication giving birth to two children. It’s a blessing for any infertile couple who can choose it at their own convenience.

Points to know: All about the first test tube baby

  • November 1977, IVF experiment was first done
  • Removal of eggs and sperm addition in the laboratory dish to form an embryo took place
  • Embryo implantation was done
  • Louise Brown was born, as the first test tube baby in 1978

So, this was how the birth of Louise Joy Brown brought about a revolution in the field of ART and paved a way for more research and development in the field of infertility treatments.If you wish to know more about IVF treatment and get your own child using the technique, you can check for the best IVF centres at your location.

Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal

About The Author

Infertility Specialist, Obstetrician Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal

Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal is an obstetrician, gynecologist and infertility specialist who is providing her valuable expertise in the field of gynecology and infertility issues. She ensures that the patients receive the required fertility treatments well on time. Dr. Kavita specializes in the treatments like High Risk Pregnancy Care, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Reproductive Medicine. Currently, she is practicing at Amit Jaggi Memorial Hospital, Vibhav Nagar, Agra.


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  2. What is ivf (in- vitro fertilization)? IVF, Elawoman - 2018
  3. Male infertility treatment with tesa TESA, Elawoman - 2017
  4. All you need to know about mesa MESA, Elawoman - 2017
  5. Best ways to boost sperm count and increase male fertility Sperm, Elawoman - 2017
  6. When and why women go for the donor eggs Egg, Elawoman - 2017
  7. All you need to know about embryo freezing Embryo freezing, Elawoman - 2017
  8. Blocked fallopian tubes causes and treatment fallopian tube, Elawoman - 2017
  9. Artificial insemination and infertility treatment artificial insemination, Elawoman - 2017
  10. Exercise during pregnancy for normal delivery normal pregnancy, Elawoman - 2018



Jigyasha Paresh

After the introduction of IVF, various other infertility treatment were introduced like Semen freezing, surrogacy and many more.

Oct. 13, 2018, 11:24 p.m. 5.0


Ankita Pradhan

I never knew IVF is around half a century old infertility treatment. Many parents are blessed with this practice. Good article!

Oct. 1, 2018, 9:56 a.m. 4.5


Kavita Tyagi

It was a good read, Many thanks for sharing this!

Sept. 13, 2018, 6:34 a.m. 4.5


Hari Kishan Gupta

Many thanks to the scientist Robert Edward and doctor Patrick Steptoe for their breakthrough experiment. They helped millions of parents to conceive.

Sept. 12, 2018, 1:11 p.m. 5.0


Arevena Patel

Such an emotional story. The luckiest parents ever, they must have gone through a lot.

Aug. 25, 2018, 11 a.m. 5.0


Somendra Priyabroto

Aug. 24, 2018, 7:06 p.m. 4.5

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