Lesley Brown, the mother of the world’s first baby born through in vitro fertilization, died June 6 in Bristol, England at age 64, the New York Times reported. Brown died at the Bristol Royal Infirmary due to complications from a gallbladder infection.
According to the New York Times, the birth of Brown’s daughter Louise on July 25, 1978 through in vitro fertilization became an instant global sensation and a turning point in infertility treatments. Since Louise’s birth, more than four million babies worldwide have been born through the procedure, including Brown’s second daughter Natalie.
The New York Times said the procedure had a slow, rocky start – failing in 60 couples over a course of 10 years – before Brown and her husband John came along, determined to have a child after nine years of unsuccessful attempts.
“Every breakthrough in medical science requires somebody to put themselves forward with the passion and commitment she had,” said Michael Macnamee, the executive director of the Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge, where the in vitro fertilization technique used on Brown was developed by Robert G. Edwards and Dr. Patrick Steptoe.
Brown is survived by her two daughters and three grandchildren. Her husband died in 2007.