Happy Birthday Louise Brown - Read the whole interview
14. August 2018
Louise Brown was born on July 25, 1978 - the first baby to be conceived through vitro fertilization (IVF). Forty years ago, Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards, who, in 1977, succeeded in fertilizing the egg and sperm cells of Louise Brown's parents outside the body, laid the foundation for the work of modern reproductive medicine.
For this special occasion, we look forward to celebrating with Louise Brown and sharing her story via our in-depth interview. We hope you enjoy reading it – the video interview
can also be watched here
. Happy Birthday Louise Brown!
An interview with Louise Brown
Dear Mrs. Brown, your birthday is of great significance in the history of reproductive medicine and was a sensational event, this time, 40 years ago. Your birth as the first human to be conceived through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has given hope to millions of people with an unfulfilled desire to have a baby and has simultaneously triggered a revolution in reproductive medicine. Today, you are the mother of two children and actively involved in your life story, elucidating IVF. We look forward to hearing more about you and your special story.
When did you hear about IVF? How did your parents explain it to you?
When I was four years old, my mother and father sat down with me and showed me the video of my birth. They simply said that my mother needed the help of Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe so that I could be born. The movie is now on YouTube - just have a look! I was about to start school at the time, and my parents knew that the subject would come up. I think I was about 10 years old when I started to realize what it meant. I do not think my parents could ever have imagined how IVF would develop in the future. According to recent reports, there are now around eight million IVF children worldwide. I'm a normal person, with a job, a husband, two kids, and honestly, it's a little scary that so many people around the world know me.
Tell us about your story – What did it feel like growing up, knowing that you were the first person born with the help of artificial insemination?
After traveling together around the world for several years, my parents took me out of the limelight in order for me to lead a normal life. Most of the time, I am either at work or with my family and then suddenly I get a press request or an invitation from an IVF clinic or a student who wants to ask me a few questions. Nowadays, I have someone to take care of these requests coming from all over the world. The 40th anniversary brought with it invitations from four different continents. I was able to see with my own eyes what great work is being done to help people with fertility problems. I have written a book about the whole story of what happened to my family. I wanted people to be able to read about all the crazy things we've experienced - and still see how the world responded to my birth. It bears the title: "Forty Years of IVF - My Life as the First Baby from the Test Tube". Most people respond positively and politely, but every now and then there are still negative comments on IVF, especially online.
You are very involved in promoting IVF education and empowering couples who desire children - based on your experience, what advice can you give people with an unfulfilled desire for children?
My mother always believed that she would have a baby. Although the technique had never worked before, she never lost hope or faith. She always said that that helped her a lot. I can only advise people: keep your faith that it will work for you too.
What do you think? How has your life story positively influenced other people?
To be honest, it is my mother and father who deserve all the praise and attention. I have not done anything apart from being born healthy! My name comes pretty instantaneously to mind when talking about IVF - the true pioneers of the story being Robert Edwards, Patrick Steptoe, her assistant Jean Purdy and my parents, Lesley and John Brown. Together, they have changed the world.
Mrs Brown, thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you all the best for your birthday and many more successful and happy years together with your family!
Watch our video interview here Video