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First test-tube baby now a mom

india Updated: Jan 14, 2007 02:25 IST
Vijay Dutt
Highlight Story

She had created history when she was born and now she has created history again by herself giving birth to a son.

Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby, has given birth to a child of her own - a boy. Twenty-eight-year-old Louise, an administrative assistant, and her husband Wesley Mullinder, 37, were delighted at the safe arrival of the baby.

Brown's own birth in 1978 made stunning headlines around the world as it came after a decade of research on finding ways to fertilise human eggs outside the body. She remained a celebrity and a curiosity for a long time. The House of Commons had celebrated her 20th birthday in the presence of a large number of others born through IVF.

Brown's mother, Lesley, had tried to have a baby for nine years before she underwent a course of IVF at Kershaw Cottage, Oldham, under the supervision of the British doctors Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe, a gynaecologist at the hospital who died ten years later.

The two doctors removed a single ripe egg from Brown and fertilised it in a glass dish with sperm from her husband, John. The resulting embryo was implanted back into Brown's body. Their daughter Louise was delivered by Caesarean section at the Royal Oldham Hospital on July 25, 1978.

The Browns later had Louise's sister Natalie through the same process. Natalie, 23, was the first test-tube child to give birth in 1999. The birth of her child, Casey, made medical history and also ended fears that girls born through IVF treatment would not be able to have healthy children.

It was no surprise that Dr Edwards was the guest of honour when Louise married Mullinder at St Mary Redcliffe church in Bristol in 2004. She said then that she would love to have children without the need for IVF. "When I was younger I used to want three or four, but now I don't know."

Three years ago on her 25th birthday Brown was guest of honour at a grand party at Bourn Hall clinic in Cambridgeshire for hundreds of people who were also test-tube babies.

She then worked as a postal worker in the Bristol area. She said she was four when her parents told her about her birth. She was also shown the video taken in the operating theatre at the hospital.

Her fame had led to her schoolmates firing a barrage of question at her. They had to be told that she was not exactly born in a laboratory. She shared her feelings with others when she said that at times she felt lonely. "I thought I was abnormal."

But hundreds present at the event were in no doubt she as normal as they were. Indeed she looked healthy and level headed, a perfect advert for IVF. Doctors were was also there to explain the IVF technique.

She had said, "I used to think I was special. I used to think about how I was conceived quite a lot when I was about ten or eleven, but I don't think about it at all now."

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