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Lesley Brown, mother of first test tube baby, dies in Bristol

Category: England

Published: 20th Jun 2012 15:46:49

The woman who gave birth to the world's first test tube baby has died.

Lesley Brown, 64, who lived in Whitchurch, Bristol, made history in July 1978 when her daughter Louise was born at Oldham General Hospital.

Mrs Brown had been trying for a baby with her husband John for nine years before she became the first woman to give birth following IVF treatment.

She died at the Bristol Royal Infirmary on 6 June with her family by her side, it has been announced.

She successfully conceived following pioneering treatment by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards.

She leaves behind daughters Louise and Natalie, who were both born following IVF treatment, her stepdaughter Sharon and five grandchildren.

Her husband died five years ago.

A private funeral service was held in Bristol on Wednesday morning.

Mrs Brown's daughter Louise said: "Mum was a very quiet and private person who ended up in the world spotlight because she wanted a family so much.

"We are all missing her terribly."

Dr Steptoe and Prof Edwards set up the Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge two years after Louise Brown's birth. It has now become a leading centre for IVF treatment.

Speaking on behalf of Prof Edwards and the team at the clinic, chief executive 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."

Speaking in 2008, Mrs Brown said she had been so desperate to have a baby that she was willing to put up with anything to give birth.

Her blocked fallopian tubes meant getting pregnant naturally was impossible.

In 1976, she heard about new research and was referred to Dr Steptoe, after which she agreed to the experimental procedure.

Although other women had been implanted with fertilised eggs, Mrs Brown was the first to achieve a pregnancy which went beyond a few weeks.

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BBC News, 2012. Lesley Brown, mother of first test tube baby, dies in Bristol [Online] (Updated 20th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1435800/Lesley-Brown-mother-of-first-test-tube-baby-dies-in-Bristol [Accessed 21st Apr 2014]

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