What is IVF?
The first in vitro – meaning ‘in glass’ – fertilisation (IVF) baby was Louise Brown, born in the UK in 1978. The technique was pioneered by Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe. Nowadays IVF is used by many couples – around 24,000 every year in the UK alone – to help them have babies. Doctors remove eggs from the woman’s body and fertilise them with sperm in the laboratory, hence the term ‘test-tube baby’. Once the fertilised egg has divided a few times, the resulting tiny cluster of cells is put into the mother’s womb to continue developing.