Louise Brown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Louise Brown
Louise Joy Brown

(1978-07-25) 25 July 1978 (age 45)
Known forFirst in vitro newborn
Wesley Mullinder
(m. 2004)
Parent(s)Lesley Brown
John Brown
RelativesNatalie Brown (sister)

Louise Joy Brown (born 25 July 1978) is an English woman who was the first human to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilisation experiment (IVF). Her birth, following a procedure pioneered in Britain, has been lauded among "the most remarkable medical breakthroughs of the 20th Century".[1][2][3][4]

Birth and early life[edit]

Louise Joy Brown was born at Oldham General Hospital, Lancashire, by planned Caesarean section performed by registrar John Webster.[5] She weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces (2.608 kg) at birth.[6] Her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to conceive naturally for nine years, but Lesley faced complications of blocked fallopian tubes.[6]

On 10 November 1977, Lesley Brown underwent a procedure, later to become known as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), developed by Patrick Steptoe, Robert Edwards, and Jean Purdy. Purdy was the first to see her embryonic cells dividing.[7] Edwards, as the only surviving partner, was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine for this work.[8] In March 2022, a plaque was installed on Royal Oldham Hospital to record the importance of Sister Muriel Harris and Jean Purdy to the work.[9] Although the media referred to Brown as a "test tube baby",[10] her conception actually took place in a Petri dish. Her younger sister, Natalie Brown, was also conceived through IVF four years later, and became the world's 40th child born after conception by IVF. In May 1999, Natalie was the first human born after conception by IVF to give birth herself—without IVF.[6]

Career and family life[edit]

In 2004, Brown married nightclub doorman Wesley Mullinder. Dr. Edwards attended their wedding.[6] Their first son, conceived naturally,[10] was born on 20 December 2006.[11][12]

Brown's father died in 2006.[13] Her mother died on 6 June 2012 in Bristol Royal Infirmary at the age of 64[14] due to complications from a gallbladder infection.[13]

Ethical and religious issues[edit]

Although the Browns knew the procedure was experimental, the doctors did not tell them that no case had yet resulted in a baby. This has raised questions of informed consent.[15]

In 1978, when asked for his reaction to Brown's birth, the patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Albino Luciani (later Pope John Paul I), expressed concerns about the possibility that artificial insemination could lead to women being used as "baby factories", but also refused to condemn the parents of the child,[16] noting they simply wanted to have a baby.[17]


  • Brown, Louise; Powell, Martin (2015). Louise Brown: My Life As the World's First Test-Tube Baby. Wraxall: Bristol Books CIC. ISBN 978-1-909446-08-3. OCLC 1023273709. Bristol Archives Bk/2552.


  1. ^ Walsh, Fergus (14 July 2008). "30th birthday for first IVF baby". BBC News. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Louise Brown and Her Parents | Encyclopedia.com". encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Louise Brown: World's first IVF baby's family archive unveiled". BBC News. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  4. ^ "'I was the world's first IVF baby, and this is my story'". The Independent. 25 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  5. ^ Hutchinson, Martin (24 July 2003). "I helped deliver Louise". BBC News. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d "World's first IVF baby marks 30th birthday", Archived 26 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine Agence France-Presse, 23 July 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
  7. ^ Weule, Genelle (25 July 2018). "The first IVF baby was born 40 years ago today". ABC News. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  8. ^ Wade, Nicholas (4 October 2010). "Pioneer of in Vitro Fertilisation Wins Nobel Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  9. ^ "Unsung heroine who saved refugees from Nazis honoured in Leeds". The Guardian. 8 March 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  10. ^ a b Hall, Sarah (11 July 2006). "Louise Brown, first test tube baby, is pregnant". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Baby son joy for test-tube mother". BBC News. 14 January 2007.
  12. ^ "The first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978 in the United Kingdom". KrishnaIVF News. 14 January 2007.
  13. ^ a b Grady, Denise (23 June 2012). "Lesley Brown, Mother of World's First 'Test-Tube Baby,' Dies at 64", The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  14. ^ "First test tube baby mother Lesley Brown dies". BBC News. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  15. ^ Marantz Henig, Robin. Pandora's Baby, Houghton Mifflin, 2004, p 134
  16. ^ Prospettive nel Mondo,1 August 1978; Luciani, Opera Omnia, vol. 8, pp. 571–72.
  17. ^ Eley, Adam (23 July 2015). "How has IVF developed since the first 'test-tube baby'?". BBC News. Retrieved 9 August 2020.

External links[edit]