Louise Joy Brown (born 25 July 1978) is an English woman known for being the first human to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilisation, or IVF.


Louise Brown was born at Oldham General Hospital, Oldham, by planned Caesarean section delivered by registrar John Webster. She weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces (2.608 kg) at birth. Her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to conceive for nine years. Lesley faced complications of blocked fallopian tubes.

On 10 November 1977, Lesley Brown underwent a procedure, later to become known as IVF (in vitro fertillisation), developed by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards. Edwards was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine for this work. Although the media referred to Brown as a "test tube baby", her conception actually took place in a petri dish. Her younger sister, Natalie Brown, was also conceived through IVF four years later, and became the world's fortieth IVF baby. In May 1999, Natalie was the first IVF baby to give birth herself—naturally—to daughter Casey. Natalie has subsequently had three additional children; sons Christopher, Daniel, and Aeron, the last of whom was born in August 2013.

In 2004, Brown married nightclub doorman (bouncer) Wesley Mullinder. Dr. Edwards attended their wedding. Their son Cameron, conceived naturally, was born on 20 December 2006. Brown's second son, Aiden Patrick Robert, was born in August 2013.

Brown's father died in 2007. Her mother died on 6 June 2012 in Bristol Royal Infirmary at the age of 64 due to complications from a gallbladder infection.

Ethical and religious issues

Although the Browns knew the procedure was experimental, the doctors did not tell them that no case had yet resulted in a baby. This has raised questions of informed consent.

Shortly before the death of Pope Paul VI, when asked for his reaction to Brown's birth, the patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Albino Luciani (later Pope John Paul I), expressed concerns about the possibility that artificial insemination could lead to women being used as "baby factories", but also refused to condemn the parents of the child, noting they simply wanted to have a baby.