Oldham, England, July 1978 a baby was born. It was an ordinary baby but at the same time it was unique. Her name was Louise Brown and she was the first ever baby to be born using In vitro fertilization. All the eyes in the world were on Louise and the pioneers behind the IVF success, Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe. The controversies around in vitro are still present, we can easily imagine it was even more controversial then. It took 102 tries of IVF treatments to reach success in the form of the first pregnancy. Today IVF is the most essential tool in treating various cases of infertility. In 2010 Robert Edwards was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the development of in vitro fertilization.
IVF history started in Sweden where a research project on IVF was launched. Stig Kullander was the initiator of the first ever introduction of the IVF technique at the Kvinnoklinikem in Malmo in 1978. Stig was the exception among his colleagues, the one who had a positive attitude towards IVF. It was him who eventually convinced the Research Ethics Committee and most of the critics with the words “it is not unethical to do research”. The curiosity around the subject of IVF grew stronger and stronger while two teams of scientists and doctors in Malmö and Göteborg were investing time and effort to become the first ever clinic that created a child by using IVF. Intensive work continued through the 1978 to 1982. In the 1981 in Berlin at the World Congress on Infertility the Swedish scientists both from Malmö and Göteborg showed a presentation on IVF. With the cooperation of Lennart Nilsson a famous photographer, the team from Göteborg made a film about the first stages of dividing cells of a fertilized egg. The team from Malmö presented a lecture about developing the embryo in IVF. The first IVF baby in the Nordic Countries was born in Göteborg in 1982, it was a girl and soon a baby boy was born in Malmö. Only three from the group of people that were working on the research up to the year 1982 are still working on IVF today, Lars Nilsson, Hakan Warmsby and Torbjorn Hillensjo.
In 1980s you had to wait seven years to undergo IVF treatment because there were no private clinics. The first clinic in Stockholm opened in 1986 in Sopiahemmet.
Development of IVF
After the first baby born from IVF in Sweden in 1982 there have been many significant developments to this treatment like: Ultrasound, Simplified hormone stimulation. ICSI, Single-Embryo-Transfer and more. Now IVF is used all over the world letting infertile couples fulfil their dreams of parenthood.