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Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
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- 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).]