Lesley Brown, the first woman who made history by successfully giving birth following IVF treatment, has died at the age of 64. She died from a medical disease called spectima.
Mrs. Brown stunned everyone when she gave birth to her daughter, Louise. She had been trying for a baby for nine years with husband John. The couple then heard about a latest research of fertilization and decided to give it a shot. During that time, the apprehensions regarding the treatment were at its peak, but the desperate couple thought of it a sign from their God to bless them with a baby.
In the IVF treatment, the sperms are fertilized outside the body and then injected into the womb. She signed up as a volunteer for the research program, founded by Professorand Dr. Patrick Steptoe in Cambridge, and to their surprise it worked perfectly. Once successful, the Lesley Brown family tried again and they were blessed with Louise’s sister, Natalie.
Doctors at that time believed that Mrs. Brown’s luck played vital role in the success of the research. Although other volunteers too were implanted with fertilized eggs, Lesley was the first one to get pregnant. Moreover, the doctors also said that people feared that the baby created outside the mother’s womb during the procedure might create an abnormal or premature baby, but Mrs. Brown’s daughter, Louise, answered all their worries.
Mrs. Brown said she remembered feeling worried about undergoing IVF.
"It was a very different process to what it is now," she said.
"So many people now need to go through IVF whereas, at the start, I felt like I was the only one."
Speaking on behalf of Professor Robert Edwards and the team at Bourn Hall Clinic, CEO Mike Macamee said, “Lesley was a devoted mum and grandmother and through her bravery and determination many millions of women have been given the chance to become mothers. She was a lovely gentle lady and we will all remember her with deep affection."
He also added that the brave step of Mrs. Brown back then provided impetus to their research.
The success of Professor Edwards and Dr. Steptoe's research has blessed millions of couples with healthy and normal babies. It has also provided hope to all infertile couples worldwide.