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First Test Tube Baby Hits Out at Internet Abuse for Fertility Treatment Families

BT.com
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November 10, 2017
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Louise Brown holds the incubator jar in which her embryo was incubated, at the Bourne Clinic in Cambridgeshire (PA)

The world’s first “test tube baby” has said she hopes families who undergo cutting-edge fertility treatments – such as “three-parent” babies – are not subject to the same harassment her family received after pioneering IVF.

Louise Brown’s family was bombarded with hate mail after she was born.

In an interview with the Press Association, Ms Brown said she is still subject to “cruel and ill-informed” comments online from time to time.

She added that she hopes people who undergo today’s pioneering fertility treatments – such as mitochondrial replacement therapy – do not suffer the same barrage of negativity.

On November 10 1977, exactly 40 years ago, Lesley Brown, who with husband John had been trying to conceive for nine years, fell pregnant after undergoing in-vitro fertilisation.

Nine months later, their daughter Louise was born – the first baby born following IVF.

Six million babies have been born thanks to the technique, pioneered by British scientist Robert Edwards and his obstetrician colleague Patrick Steptoe.

Ms Brown, a clerk at a freight company, said: “People put cruel and ill-informed comments on the internet just about whenever there is a story about me. But I just ignore it.”

Asked whether she thought families who use the “three-person baby” technique will get similar mail, she replied: “I hope they don’t.”

The world’s first three-parent baby was born last year. Abrahim Hassan, whose Jordanian mother was treated by a US team in Mexico, was conceived from an egg containing DNA from his mother and father, and a tiny amount of mitochondrial DNA from a third person – a female donor.

The aim was to prevent Abrahim inheriting defective mitochondria, rod-like batteries in cells, that could give him Leigh syndrome – a fatal nervous system disorder.

Read the rest at BT.com


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