Louise Brown

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Louise Joy Brown
Born (1978-07-25) 25 July 1978 (age 41)
Known forFirst in-vitro baby
Spouse(s)Wesley Mullinder (2004–present)
Children2 sons
FamilyLesley and John Brown (parents)
Natalie Brown (sister)

Louise Joy Brown (born 25 July 1978) is an English woman known for being the first human to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilisation, or IVF.

Birth and early life[edit]

Louise Joy Brown was born at Oldham General Hospital, Oldham, by planned Caesarean section delivered by registrar John Webster.[1] She weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces (2.608 kg) at birth.[2] Her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to conceive for nine years. Lesley faced complications of blocked fallopian tubes.[2]

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.[3] Edwards, as the only surviving partner, was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine for this work.[4] Although the media referred to Brown as a "test tube baby",[5] 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 fortieth child after conception by IVF. In May 1999, Natalie was the first human born after conception by IVF to give birth herself—without IVF.[2]

Career and family life[edit]

In 2004, Brown married nightclub doorman Wesley Mullinder. Dr. Edwards attended their wedding.[2] Their first son, conceived naturally,[5] was born on 20 December 2006.[6]

Brown's father died in 2006.[7] Her mother died on 6 June 2012 in Bristol Royal Infirmary at the age of 64[8] due to complications from a gallbladder infection.[7]

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.[9]

Shortly before the death of Pope Paul VI, 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,[10] noting they simply wanted to have a baby.[11]


  1. ^ Hutchinson, Martin (24 July 2003). "I helped deliver Louise". BBC News.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Weule, Genelle (25 July 2018). "The first IVF baby was born 40 years ago today". ABC News. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  4. ^ Wade, Nicholas (4 October 2010). "Pioneer of in Vitro Fertilisation Wins Nobel Prize". New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  5. ^ a b Hall, Sarah (11 July 2006). "Louise Brown, first test tube baby, is pregnant". The Guardian. London.
  6. ^ "Baby son joy for test-tube mother". BBC News. 14 January 2007.
  7. ^ a b Denise Grady "Lesley Brown, Mother of World’s First ‘Test-Tube Baby,’ Dies at 64", New York Times, 23 June 2012
  8. ^ "First test tube baby mother Lesley Brown dies", Bristol news, BBC News, 20 June 2012, retrieved 20 June 2012
  9. ^ Robin Marantz Henig, Pandora's Baby, Houghton Mifflin, 2004, p 134
  10. ^ Prospettive nel Mondo,1 August 1978; Luciani, Opera Omnia, vol. 8, pp. 571-72.
  11. ^ Eley, Adam (23 July 2015). "How has IVF developed since the first 'test-tube baby'?". BBC.

External links[edit]