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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 July, 2003, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
IVF baby marks 25th anniversary
Louise Brown with Henry (left) and Antonia Veary from Rutland
Louise's birth gets a helping hand in celebrating
The 25th anniversary of the world's first test tube baby has been celebrated at the treatment's founding clinic in Cambridgeshire.

Louise Brown was guest of honour at the Bourn Hall clinic on Saturday with more than 1,000 IVF babies in attendance.

Miss Brown said she felt grateful to the doctors and scientists who had helped her be born, but said: "I don't feel special. I'm just normal."

She was born at 1147 BST on 25 July, 1978, in Oldham.

Since then, there have been well over a million "test tube babies" born worldwide.

Miss Brown and her parents joined members of the pioneering IVF team - including Professor Bob Edwards - which helped in her conception.

Miss Brown, who was born at the Royal Oldham Hospital, Lancashire, said: "I have just got on with my life, normally. I don't do many interviews, I just sort of take everything in my stride. I plod along.

Louise Brown and Alastair MacDonald, the first male IVF baby
Louise's birth changed the face of fertility treatment
"It's so nice to be here with everybody, to see all the other IVF babies who have been born in the last 25 years.

"There have been times in the past, like on my 18th and 21st birthdays, when the press have been more interested than at any other time but, apart from those, my life is pretty normal. There are just special events like this."

IVF children from Norway and quadruplet girls from Iceland were among those at the party.

Leading fertility doctors from around the world attended a conference in London on Friday to mark the anniversary.

Significance

They said advances in treatment could mean that infertility is effectively wiped out within a decade.

Professor Edwards, who, alongside Mr Patrick Steptoe, led the pioneering team that produced Louise, said: "Louise's birth signified so much; for the first time science and medicine had entered human conception in a most decisive manner."

He said that research connected with IVF had yielded the opportunity to correct or even treat serious genetic diseases in future.

'My one regret'

He said: "My only regret is that Patrick Steptoe is not with us today since that partnership, though somewhat difficult at times - showed that these two disciplines could work together to offer the best of each."

He added: "May I express my sympathy to those IVF patients who have tried but failed.

"We have reduced the proportion who fail but we must continue to improve on it.

"Let us now celebrate what must be now approaching 1.5 million IVF babies born, distributed amongst almost every country of the world."

Miss Brown is a postal worker and lives in Bristol.




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