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Chapter 8. Preventing genetic disease > In vitro fertilization (IVF)

In vitro fertilization (IVF)

On July 10, 2006, the Daily Mail reported that a young woman named Louise Brown was pregnant.[16] Ms. Brown was 27 and lived in Bristol, England, with her husband of two years Wesley Mullinder, a security officer. Ms. Brown and Mr. Mullinder made an unremarkable, middle-class English couple—except for one thing. Louise Brown was the world’s first “test tube baby.” Louise Brown’s son Cameron was born on December 20, but, while the overjoyed mother said, “He’s tiny, just under six pounds, but he’s perfect,” it was a bittersweet occasion as Louise Brown’s father had died just two weeks earlier. So Louise Brown, conceived in a “test tube,” had become pregnant the normal way and given birth to a little boy.

The story of in vitro fertilization really begins with Walter Heape, a physician and professor, at the University of Cambridge in England.[17] Heape was interested in the reproduction of different animal species. On April 27, 1890, he succeeded in transferring embryos from oviducts of an Angora rabbit female to the uterus of a recently mated Belgian hare. She produced four Belgians and two Angoras. So Heape had proved that it was possible to transfer preimplantation embryos from one pregnant female rabbit to another and have the donor embryos implant successfully in the uterus of the recipient.


  

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