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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
She Began a Baby Boom
24 July 1998 7:00 pm
ScienceNOW wishes a happy birthday to the first test tube baby, Joy Louise Brown, who will be 20 years old tomorrow. Born in England, Brown got her start thanks to an in vitro fertilization technique developed by gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and physiologist Robert G. Edwards. The success sparked both praise and ethical debates.
Steptoe pioneered the use of laparoscopic surgery--in which a long, thin telescope is inserted through a small incision into the inflated abdominal cavity--and he developed a method for obtaining eggs from the ovaries. Edwards figured out how to fertilize eggs outside the body and achieved his first success in 1968. In 1972, the pair attempted the first implantation but had no luck until 1977. Critics voiced ethical and moral concerns about tampering with the creation of human life, and Steptoe and Edwards were reluctant to discuss the new procedure. They finally presented their work to the scientific community in 1979.
Brown was the first, but she is hardly the only test tube baby alive today. According to a worldwide survey by the pharmaceutical company Oragnon, by 1994 more than 150,000 babies worldwide had been born as a result of in vitro fertilization.
[Source: Emily McMurray, Ed., Notable Twentieth Century Scientists (Gale Research Inc., ITP, 1995).]