The World's First IVF Baby Is Now 40 Years Old. She Speaks On How Her Birth Changed The Lives Of Millions Of People
Forty years ago, Louise Brown was born weighing 5 pounds 12 ounces. The world was stunned mostly because her birth was unlike most they had seen at the time.
Louise was the first ever baby to be born via IVF. She was conceived after doctors mixed egg and sperm in a petri dish. Her birth marked a new era in reproduction and, since then, more than 8 million babies have been born via this means.
Speaking with TIME Magazine in honor of her 40th birthday, Brown reflected on all the attention her birth got, back in July 1978. Her parents, Lesley and John, were hugely criticised by the public at the time because they allowed the cesarean birth to be filmed.
Brown explained her parents' decision saying that people would have had even more to say if they had chosen not to film the birth.
The birth had to be shown to the public as proof that they succeeded in conceiving a child outside the human body.
"If they didn’t, they would have had people asking ‘Why can’t we see her? What’s wrong with her?’ Brown said, adding that if the birth had gone wrong for one reason or the other, that would have ended the attempts at IVF.
According to Brown, her mother, who has now passed, was a very private person. But Lesley had no regrets about what she did. At the time, she was simply grateful to have her baby.
"Not long before mum passed away, she said that without IVF she wouldn’t have anybody left in the world," Brown told TIME. She was proud of what she did right till the very end.
Before Brown's birth, the IVF procedure was pretty controversial. Many wondered about the ethics of what some described as "human-life experimentation."
Until this day, Brown's birth continues to be a source of inspiration to many people. She told TIME that, only a few months ago, a woman and her two children approached her to thank her and her mother for how they changed the world many years ago.
If it were not for Lesley's bravery, she would not have been able to have the kids she does today, the woman told Brown.