In 1978 the first "test tube baby" was born in England, forever changing the possibilities for parenthood. The baby's name was Louise Joy Brown and on July 24, 2018, she turned 40.
Brown's mother participated in an experimental procedure that we now know as in vitro fertilization, or IVF. What is so common now was so new back then that Brown was delivered under the glow of flashlights at Oldham General Hospital so as not to alert the media.
The scientists behind the innovative procedure — Patrick Steptoe, Robert Edwards, and Jean Purdy — have all since passed away.
Brown remembers them fondly, saying:
It sounds weird but they were like grandfather figures … they were sort of a bit older than mum and dad. We used to send them birthday cards and they used to send us birthday cards, and whenever we could see each other we would.
Due to the incredible breakthrough, millions of babies have been born using IVF.