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Happy birthday Louise Brown

Today we’re celebrating an important milestone in IVF – the 40th birthday of Louise Brown, the world’s first IVF baby.

We’ve been marking this important date all month – starting off with our #IVFis40 campaign and continuing with the opening of the Science Museum’s IVF:6 million babies later exhibition and blog – and now we’ve launched two new exciting pieces of multimedia content.

In our new video we ask Louise and Dr John Webster, who assisted in her birth, what it was like to be part of such a defining moment in medicine.

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And in our podcast, our Chair, Sally Cheshire CBE reflects on how far IVF has come over the years, talks about the history of the HFEA and outlines the information, tools and resources we have available for fertility patients. It also includes an interview with one of our inspectors, Janet Kirkland MacHattie, about her time at Bourn Hall, the pioneering clinic where Louise was born, and what her job as an HFEA inspector entails.

Listen to the special episode of The Fertility Podcast.

Sally said: “It is to Professor Sir Robert Edwards, Dr Patrick Steptoe and Jean Purdy that we owe the most, for inventing IVF, persisting until it succeeded and allowing millions of patients to create their much longed-for families. Louise Brown’s birth 40 years ago was a defining moment in medicine and one that went on to have a huge impact on both the lives of individuals and society.

“There have been huge advancements in scientific research and medicine over the past 40 years and the UK remains at the forefront of scientific and clinical development in IVF. The 40th anniversary of Louise’s birth is a milestone and we can look forward to an exciting and challenging future as medicine and science allow more people to have the families they want.”

Find out more about our 40-year celebrations on our campaign microsite.

Publication date: 16 March 2022

Review date: 16 March 2024