Test Tube Baby- this term was once very widely used while referring to kids who had been born out of IVF. Today, it’s almost defunct.  At the time when IVF was very new and novel and not rampantly used, the term indicated the marvels of science and the wonders it could perform. It was completely unimaginable that a human being could be born out of cells that were created in a lab.

The first test tube baby

Louise Joy Brown was the first test tube baby and was born in 1978- no doubt, she gained instant fame. It wasn’t only because she had been conceived in a lab in a Petri dish, but also because her parents were condemned by various religious communities from across the world. And of course there were the cynics and the naysayers who looked upon her birth as a very unsavory precedent to other medical discoveries that would only wreck the world as we know it.

Of course, there were some quarters in which Louise’s birth was celebrated and overall, the broader medical community rejoiced at the success of this procedure. Lesley and John, Louise’s parents had been fighting infertility for 9 excruciatingly long years, before Louise was born and they were elated.

Some sections of society as well as the medical fraternity harbored concerns about the fact that this technology would be misused by some, in the future, and of course some ethical questions were raised as well. The one major question that everyone pondered upon was whether this child born out of a test tube would grow up to be a healthy adult.

There was no clarity about this aspect as she was the very first child to be born out of this procedure. There was no way it could be ascertained whether there had been any alteration in the baby’s genetic code or if this child was going to be different in any way. Of course, the creationists were livid over this fascinating development  and ranted that it wasn’t in our palace to meddle in Mother Nature ways, and that no good would come from these types of medical  developments.

Social and Ethical Issues of IVF 

The Concerns 

Even the doctors who had been part of this procedure were concerned about the baby; they wondered that if it later surfaced that this child was born abnormal, that they would be faulted for it. And if that did happen to what extent was the actual procedure to be blamed. They wondered whether discarding the unused fertilized eggs can be pegged as murder etc.

Learn more about Embryo Adoption

The Treatment of Choice

Today, almost 40 years down the line, IVF treatment has emerged the winner; it is the treatment of choice and the best bet for infertile couples wanting to have a baby of their own. These couples find hope in this treatment and may even finally be able to fulfill their dream of parenthood.


Today, a test tube baby is considered a triumph for science. However, there was a time when this procedure was looked upon with a lot of suspicion and apprehension.

Not happy with the attention you are getting from your IVF clinic? Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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