A major breakthrough in medicinal sciences emerges as a cure for infertility in women
Back in Time is ED’s newspaper type column that reports an incident from the past as though it has happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to re-live it several years later, on the date it had occurred.
For this incident, we go back in time to 1978.
Oldham, 25th July 1978: Lesley and John Brown, residents of Manchester’s oldest town Oldham became the first parents of the world to have a baby through the successful implementation of the procedure – In vitro fertilization (IVF) or more commonly known as “test tube baby”.
Lesley and John had been trying to conceive a baby for the past nine years. Lesley suffered from blocked Fallopian tubes, which were the main hindrance to her becoming pregnant.
After undergoing the IVF procedure, Lesley gave birth to a healthy baby girl who was later named- “Louise”. Louise was given the middle name “Joy” by doctors Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards who were the developers of the IVF treatment.
Louise’s birth through IVF has already been regarded as one of the most spectacular events of the 20th century. The treatment has gained widespread popularity and can be assumed to be a groundbreaking discovery for women who are unable to conceive through natural methods.
Post Scriptum: As of today there are over a million babies in the world right now who were conceived through IVF. Only within 67 days of Louise Brown’s birth, the second IVF baby “Durga” was born in Kolkata, India by physician Subhash Mukhopadhyay.
On one side of the world, some were rejoicing the scientific breakthrough that IVF brought and on the other, some were cursing, seeing it as an act of profanity and calling it utter blasphemy.
While Dr Robert Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for the development of in vitro fertilisation”, Dr Subhash Mukhopadhyay committed suicide due to continuous harassment and ostracism he faced from his state government.
Louise herself has confessed to several hate mails and death threats over her birth through unnatural methods but feels overwhelmed by hundreds of people who referred to her as a ray of hope for parents who couldn’t conceive naturally.
Today, Louise turns 38 and so does the science of in vitro fertilisation. She’s married and has two children. The scientific advancement may not have delighted everyone, but just like Lesley and John Brown, it sure has made millions of childless couples realise their goal of having a baby.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.