Louise Brown in Malaga: how we celebrated the 30th birthday of our first IVF baby
We celebrated our thirtieth anniversary just three years ago. Since those first steps back in 1987, it wasn’t until ‘89 that the founder of URE Centro Gutenberg, Dr. Manuel Martínez Moya, and his team made Lorena’s birth a reality. She was the first baby born as a result of in vitro fertilisation in the province of Málaga (Spain).
This milestone marked a turning point in our province. Since then, advances have been made on a consistent basis, each one greater than the last. Medications are increasingly safer and more efficient. And we have access to better laboratory techniques which allow for improved embryo development and observation.
One example is the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis which makes it possible to rule out serious genetic illnesses in embryos. We also use the best embryo culture techniques (such as the Embryoscope®), more objective sperm selection techniques, gamete donation, preservation of fertility by egg freezing, etc. Our fertility clinic in Spain is interested in keeping abreast of developments and much more.
A very special anniversary
Lorena, our first baby born as a result of IVF, turned 30 years old on 19th October. At URE we are proud to have been a part of the greatest milestone of 20th century medicine, just as the birth of Louise Brown was. When she was born in Manchester (United Kingdom) on 25th July 1978, Louise became the world’s first test‑tube baby. This ground‑breaking event happened 42 years ago and was the result of the sacrifice and hard work of her parents and Dr. Edwards’ team.
This past March, to celebrate Lorena’s 30th birthday, we wanted to do something special. Something special for our fertility clinic in Spain, for the province of Málaga and also for you. An event to show our appreciation for all the families we have formed part of and who have placed their trust in us. That’s why we brought Louise Brown to Malaga – she shared with us her experience as the world’s first IVF baby as well as very personal details regarding her origins.
Louise’s parents spent ten years waiting for a pregnancy that never came to fruition. This even caused her mother to fall into a deep depression. Her parents finally decided to travel more than 600 kilometres from home to make their dream come true. They visited the hospital of physiologist Robert Edwards, gynaecologist Patricks Steptoe and Jean Purdy, the woman who would become the world’s first embryologist. These three individuals were able to find success after hundreds of failed attempts at IVF techniques.
One small step for medicine… one giant leap for mankind
Our medical director, Dr. Claudio Álvarez, commented during Louise Brown’s visit that her birth had been “one small step for medicine but one giant leap for mankind». Up until the time of her birth, fertility treatments were very far from being what they are today.
Treatment was focussed on scheduling intercourse on the female’s fertile days, artificial insemination, and surgery and microsurgery to remedy fallopian tubes issues. All of these options had very low success rates. In vitro fertilisation lead to an exponential leap in pregnancy rates via assisted reproduction.
In spite of her story, Louise revealed that she doesn’t feel special and urged us to continue making advances in reproductive medicine. And to those future mums and dads who are struggling to make their dreams come true, we encourage you to not give up and to trust in scientific progress.
Louise also confessed that she’s always felt like Dr. Edwards’ team was a part of her family, like grandparents, an important part of her life. This is something we understand quite well here at URE Centro Gutenberg, as it’s the way we feel with Lorena and each and every baby we help bring into the world.
We’d also like to thank all our guests who joined us in celebrating this touching event. Once more you’ve made our dreams come true. And of course, this text is also a thank you to Louise Brown and her fantastic team for accepting and participating in our project.
You can watch a video summary of the celebration where we experienced great moments with Louise and all our guests. Thank you again!