Thursday 18 October 2018

World's first 'test tube baby' hopes others do not suffer harassment

Test-tube pioneer Professor Robert Edwards with Louise Brown - the first of six million babies born using IVF since 1978 Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire
Test-tube pioneer Professor Robert Edwards with Louise Brown - the first of six million babies born using IVF since 1978 Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Ella Pickover

The world's first 'test tube baby' has said she hopes families who undergo cutting-edge fertility treatments - such as 'three parent' babies - are not subject to the same harassment her family received after pioneering IVF.

Louise Brown's family was bombarded with hate mail after she was born. In an interview with the Press Association, Ms Brown (39) said she was still subject to "cruel and ill-informed" comments online.

Louise shortly after her birth Photo: PA Photo
Louise shortly after her birth Photo: PA Photo

She hoped people who undergo today's pioneering fertility treatments - such as mitochondrial replacement therapy - did not suffer the same barrage of negativity.

On November 10, 1977, exactly 40 years ago, Lesley Brown, who with husband John had been trying to conceive for nine years, fell pregnant after undergoing in-vitro fertilisation.

Nine months later, their daughter Louise was born. Six million babies have been born thanks to the technique.

Ms Brown, a clerk at a freight company, said: "People put cruel and ill-informed comments on the internet just about whenever there is a story about me. But I just ignore it."

Asked whether she thought families who use the 'three-person baby' technique will get similar mail, she replied: "I hope they don't."

The world's first three-parent baby was born last year. Abrahim Hassan, whose Jordanian mother was treated by a US team in Mexico, was conceived from an egg containing DNA from his mother and father, and a tiny amount of mitochondrial DNA from a third person - a female donor.

The aim was to prevent a fatal nervous system disorder.

Irish Independent

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