On July 25, 1978, weighing in at 5 pounds, 12 ounces, Louise Joy Brown entered the world on videotape, her birth recorded for posterity because she had just become the world's first "test tube" baby. Her parents, Lesley and John, had been struggling to have a child for nine years when they turned in desperation to a little-known procedure called in vitro fertilization.
Reporters from around the world descended on Oldham General Hospital in Greater Manchester, England, trying to catch a glimpse of the first baby conceived outside the womb. So intense was the media and scientific debate surrounding her birth that doctors filmed the Caesarean section that delivered Louise to prove that her mother's fallopian tubes were, in fact, not present.
Brown is now 32, with a child of her own -- 3-year-old Cameron, conceived the old-fashioned way and delivered the same. She has tried to live quietly, working as a postal clerk and then for a shipping company, but she is constantly revisited by reporters who've noted everything from her birthdays, to giving birth, to today's announcement that scientist Robert G. Edwards had received the Nobel Prize for helping develop the laboratory process that gave her life.
"It's fantastic news. Me and mum are so glad that one of the pioneers of IVF has been given the recognition he deserves," Brown said today in a statement released by her and her mother. "We hold Bob in great affection and are delighted to send our personal congratulations to him and his family at this time."