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IVF Celebrates 34th Birthday

a blog by Claire, July 25, 2012

Today, in vitro fertilization turns 34, and aging has certainly improved her. The first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born July 25, 1978, in England as the result of collaborative work of Patrick Steptoe, M.D., and Robert Edwards, Ph.D. Things moved quickly after that. Here's a few highlights of some key events.

  • 1979: In the United States, the Ethics Advisory Board approves federal funding of IVF reearch.
  • 1980: The first IVF clinic in the United States opens.
  • 1980: Australia's first IVF baby is born.
  • 1981: The first IVF baby is born in the United States.
  • 1998: Patrick Steptoe, M.D., dies.
  • 1992: The first American baby was conceived with the intracytoplasmic sperm injection technique.
  • May 13, 1999: Natalie Brown, the younger sister of Louise Brown, is the first baby conceived via IVF to become a mother herself — by conceiving a child naturally.
  • Roberts Edwards, Ph.D., was awarded the Nobel Prize for the development of IVF
  • June 6, 2012: Lesley Brown, mother of the world's first IVF baby dies.

Today, approximately 5 million babies have been born via IVF. Many of them are adults in their 20s and 30s and have had their own children. Infertility is estimated to affect around 10 percent of couples throughout the world.Thanks to the extraordinary work of many scientists like Edwards and Steptoe and the bravery of women like Lesley Brown, IVF is an established, safe and effective, mainstream therapy for this disease.

Happy Birthday IVF!


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