Home World Europe News Lesley Brown, world’s first test tube baby mother, dies at 64

Lesley Brown, world’s first test tube baby mother, dies at 64


Lesley Brown, the woman who gave birth to the world’s first test tube baby, has died aged 64.

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

She 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.

Lesley Brown 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.

Lesley Brown 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.


Lesley Brown, the woman who gave birth to the world's first test tube baby, has died aged 64

Lesley Brown, the woman who gave birth to the world's first test tube baby, has died aged 64

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

Louise Brown 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. Patrick Steptoe and Prof. Robert 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. Robert 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, Lesley Brown said she had been so desperate to have a baby that she was willing to put up with anything to give birth.

At the time, she said: “I’m just so grateful that I’m a mum at all because without IVF I never would have been and I wouldn’t have my grandchildren.”

Her blocked fallopian tubes meant getting pregnant naturally was impossible.

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

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