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World's first IVF baby opens Bristol Archive display

4th December 2018

Categories: Latest News

The world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown, will unveil a new museum display about her birth and talk about the impact on the world at an event in Bristol’s M Shed on December 11. 

There are now eight million people in the world born through IVF and Louise’s birth to Bristol couple Lesley and John Brown caused a sensation around the world 40 years ago, changing the way human beings reproduce and making it possible for millions of people to have babies.  

The event runs from 6pm to 8pm with visitors able to see the new permanent display, which has been made possible by Louise donating an archive of her mother’s possessions at the time to the Bristol Culture. Some of the display was in the Science Museum in London this year. 

At 6.30pm Louise and her biographer Martin Powell will be “in conversation” with an illustrated talk about her birth and how it impacted her life and others around the world. 

Martin Powell, who runs Bristol PR firm Empica, said: “Louise’s birth on 25 July 1978 was a defining moment for reproductive technology. Pioneers Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe had worked for ten years with hundreds of failed attempts. 

“Robert Edwards won a Nobel Prize for his scientific work bringing Louise into the world and the impact is still being felt today.” 

The Lesley Brown Archive has recently been donated to Bristol Culture. Objects include presents from the Brazilian Embassy, hate mail from America, and a letter telling Lesley Brown she is in the early stages of pregnancy.

Martin Powell added: “This year Louise and I have travelled to four continents to attend events celebrating the birth of IVF. IVF is now a global industry employing thousands of people with new developments happening all the time.  

“The Lesley Brown archive was deposited in Bristol despite requests from some of the top archives across the world for it to be deposited with them because Lesley and Louise were proud to be Bristolian and wanted the connection with the city to be remembered. 

Entry is free and tea and coffee will be served. Louise will also be signing copies of her book: “40 Years of IVF” – My Life as the world’s first test tube baby”, which was published in paperback by Bristol Books for the first time this year, chronicling how IVF started and what happened to Louise and her family over the years. 

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