IT’S 40 YEARS SI

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SQUARE EYES - BY AMY-CLARE MARTIN

NOT many peo­ple know of or care about the day they were con­ceived. But for Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby”, to­day’s date sig­nals the med­i­cal break­through that gave her life.

On Novem­ber 10, 1977, em­bry­ol­o­gist Jean Purdy watched as an em­bryo in a petri dish di­vided into eight cells.

The cells were im­planted into Les­ley Brown and, nine months later, she gave birth to a child she had des­per­ately wanted for more than nine years.

Forty years on, the first baby born by in vitro fer­til­i­sa­tion has called for those who un­dergo the lat­est cut­ting-edge fer­til­ity treat­ments to be shielded from the shock­ing abuse her fam­ily re­ceived.

Her par­ents were flooded with hate mail by peo­ple sus­pi­cious of the pi­o­neer­ing tech­nique. Even to­day, she is reg­u­larly tar­geted by in­ter­net trolls.

Louise, who lives in Bris­tol and works as a clerk at a freight firm, re­vealed: “Peo­ple put cruel and ill-in­formed com­ments on the in­ter­net just about when­ever there is a story about me. I just ig­nore it.”

Fol­low­ing ad­vance­ments in mi­to­chon­drial re­place­ment ther­apy – or three-par­ent ba­bies – she has spo­ken of her wish that other fam­i­lies will not re­ceive the cruel treat­ment her own ex­pe­ri­enced. Asked whether she thought fam­i­lies who use the tech­nique will get sim­i­lar abuse, she replied: “I hope they don’t.”

Ear­lier this year doc­tors at the New­cas­tle Fer­til­ity at Life clinic were awarded the first of­fi­cial li­cence to cre­ate a baby with three ge­netic par­ents. It fol­lows the birth last year of the world’s first three­par­ent baby, Abrahim Has­san.

Sci­en­tists in Mex­ico used a tiny amount of mi­to­chon­drial DNA from a fe­male donor to pre­vent him in­her­it­ing a fa­tal ner­vous sys­tem dis­or­der.

Louise has hit back at those op­posed to fer­til­ity treat­ments, say­ing it is no dif­fer­ent to solv­ing other med­i­cal is­sues.

She said: “Most peo­ple with fer­til­ity is­sues have a med­i­cal prob­lem and if med­i­cal science can over­come it I don’t see that be­ing any dif­fer­ent to try­ing to solve any other med­i­cal prob­lem.”

In a rare in­ter­view ahead of the land­mark 40th an­niver­sary of her con­cep­tion, the 39-year-old mother of two ad­mit­ted she has strug­gled to know how to com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion.

She told the Mir­ror: “For me it has been a par­tic­u­larly strange time as those cells that di­vided in a petri dish at a cot­tage hospi­tal near Old­ham on Novem­ber 10, 1977 be­came me! I shall be work­ing as usual. I don’t think peo­ple cel­e­brate the an­niver­sary of their con­cep­tion, do they?”

At birth, Louise was sub­jected to more than 60 tests and the world’s me­dia camped out­side Old­ham Gen­eral hospi­tal, Lancs, where she was de­liv­ered by cae­sarean sec­tion weigh­ing 5lb 12oz.

In 1978, Pope John Paul I spoke out but re­fused to con­demn Louise’s par­ents, Les­ley and John.

Since then, more the six mil­lion chil­dren have been born via IVF. But with one round cost­ing the NHS l Jus grou thre re­fus

PI­O­NEERS Bob Ed­wards & Pa­trick Step­toe YELL-O Louise makes her­self known to world

BOND Treat pi­one Edwa her w in 20

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