The first baby born through the in-vitro fertilization process back in 1978 in England turned 35 years old last week. Louise Brown was the "child of science" as People magazine called her before her 6th birthday. At that time there were only 300 IVF clinics worldwide with 50 in the U.S.
"There is no difference between her and any other little girl," her now 63 year old father John Brown said at the time. "We just helped nature a bit, that's all."
It wasn't until three years after Louise Brown's birth in December of 1981 when the first U.S. "test-tube" baby was born -- which is technically a misnomer since the father's sperm fertilizes the mother's egg in a petri dish. Both babies were born via the standard C-section.
Now Louise Brown has lots of company with over 5 million estimated IVF babies born since her birth on July 25, 1978, including her sister Natalie, who was born in June of 1982. While it is common, cost is still a factor with each IVF cycle costing around $10,000 for three embryos implanted and many women need multiple cycles. Success rates and disease risk depend upon age.
New techniques are just emerging to increase pregnancy rates and reduce associated disease risks and costs.
"It is hard to overstate how revolutionary this [new test] is," Doctor Michael Glassner recently said. "This increases pregnancy rates by 50% across the board and reduces miscarriages by a similar margin. It will be much less expensive. In five years, this will be state of the art and everyone who comes for IVF will have it."
Learn about IVF costs, success rates, doctor reviews and more within the In Vitro Fertilization Resource Guide. To consult with an IVF doctor, look through LocateADoc.com profiles to find a specialist in your area.
Photo of Embryo via Wikimedia Commons