“I’m not a scientist. I try not to have an opinion on what is happening in IVF today. There will always be people criticising those who are doing something new. I think it is important to leave this sort of thing to the scientists so they can fi nd ways of helping to solve the problems of the world.”
Louise Brown is effectively ground zero for in vitro fertilisation – proof of life and the technology that has brought science and nature together as one. But despite finding herself the centre of an unrelenting global media fascination – a demigoddess to modern fertility – the 35-year-old lives a quiet, unassuming life in Bristol. She’s just a normal girl.
In a rare and touching interview, conducted on the eve of her second child, Aiden, who arrived on August 14, Louise talks exclusively to Fertility Road about a life in the lens, her experiences in motherhood, and why building her own family has been such a profound experience.
The miracle of life has always amazed those who witness it, but the world’s collective jaw dropped on that joyous day – July 25, 1978 – when Louise Joy Brown became the fi rst human to be born through in-vitro fertilisation.
Amid religious and ethical mutterings, nothing could drown out the joy that spread amongst parents Lesley and John and the rest of the Brown family. It was followed by a wave of unparalleled optimism from hopeful mothersto-be and scientists who knew they were sitting at the steps of a biological revolution. The so-called ‘fathers of IVF’, obstetrician Patrick Steptoe and physiologist Robert Edwards, had proved that there is indeed life, and hope, after conventional conception fails.
And while scaremongers fretted that a baby born this way might not have had the same survival prospects as another conceived by entirely natural means, Louise, and fi ve million others after her, are living proof that IVF is a stable, viable and life-giving solution. And on a planetary scale, it has been truly embraced.
Move forward to 2013 and Louise, now 35, is happily married, to Wesley Mullinder. Next year the couple celebrate a decade together as husband and wife. They conceived, naturally, their son Cameron in 2006 and amidst intense media attention, little brother Aiden arrived in the middle of August – fit, healthy, and ready to cement his own place in an incredible tale.
Read the full story in Fertility Road magazine