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ENGLAND 25 Jul 2013 First “test tube baby” born 35 years ago
On 25 Jul in 1978 Lesley Brown gave birth to Louise Joy, the world’s first “test tube baby,” in Oldham, England. The in vitro fertilization

July 25, 2013 - NULL

ENGLAND 25 Jul 2013 First "test tube baby" born 35 years ago
On 25 Jul in 1978 Lesley Brown gave birth to Louise Joy, the world's first "test tube baby," in Oldham, England. The in vitro fertilization (IVF) that brought about conception gave hope to millions of childless couples. Robert Edwards, one of the men who developed IVF - the other was Patrick Steptoe - received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine for devising the technique. The 35th anniversary invites a new tally of IVF births - a Jul 2012 tally put the figure at 5 million - and a look at hurdles IVF

ENGLAND 25 Jul 2013 First "test tube baby" born 35 years ago
On 25 Jul in 1978 Lesley Brown gave birth to Louise Joy, the world's first "test tube baby," in Oldham, England. The in vitro fertilization (IVF) that brought about conception gave hope to millions of childless couples. Robert Edwards, one of the men who developed IVF - the other was Patrick Steptoe - received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine for devising the technique. The 35th anniversary invites a new tally of IVF births - a Jul 2012 tally put the figure at 5 million - and a look at hurdles IVF still has to clear for full acceptance.
As it applied to Louise Joy Brown, the term "test tube baby" was inaccurate: conception took place in a petri dish.

Reporting the death of Lesley Brown on 20 Jun 2012, the BBC noted that one marker of the success of IVF is the way the technique has gone from being a medical marvel to one that seems so mainstream that it no longer receives much attention.

But almost since the idea was floated, IVF has been opposed on moral and religious grounds, with the arguments similar to those heard about stem cell research. The Roman Catholic Church continues to condemn the use of IVF in humans because it leads to reproduction without the "conjugal act" of sexual intercourse, and because it frequently involves the production of excess embryos that are eventually destroyed.

The argument for IVF with the most staying power is that it allows previously infertile couples to have children of their own. Lesley and John Brown tried unsuccessfully for a baby for nine years before finally giving up trying on their own and participating in the Edwards-Steptoe program. Natalie Brown was conceived by IVF four years later.

The normal development of the earliest test tube babies into childhood, then adulthood, silenced critics who saw IVF leading to "Frankenbabies" or like the laboratory breeding programs described by Aldous Huxley in "Brave New World."

Many other social concerns failed to materialize; test tube babies were not shunned, and far from destroying the traditional family, the effects of IVF were often conservative. In the words of biologist Lee Silver, "here's a technology which is almost always used to allow a married man and woman to have a child, to form a family. ... So IVF facilitates a very, very traditional outcome, which is a mother and a father and children." (WRITTEN JUL 2012)

RELATED READING:

First test tube baby mother Lesley Brown dies (BBC 20 Jun 2012)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-18524232

Five millionth 'test tube baby' (BBC 1 Jul 2012)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18649582

The pros and cons of IVF (PBS)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/babies-pros-and-cons/

The moral status of in vitro fertilization (IVF) Biology and method (Catholic Insight Jan-Feb 2003)
http://catholicinsight.com/online/church/vatican/article_475.shtml

Vatican Expresses 'Perplexity' Over Nobel Awarded To IVF Creator (Huffington Post 6 Oct 2010)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/06/vatican-expresses-perplex_n_751819.html

Date written/update: 2013-07-25