Biggleswade couple meet world’s first IVF baby as she celebrates 40th birthday

Claire Darnbrough, David Lathlean and five-month-old daughter Mia met Louise Brown, the world's firs

Claire Darnbrough, David Lathlean and five-month-old daughter Mia met Louise Brown, the world's first IVF baby. Picture: Claire Lynn - Credit: Archant

Parents from Biggleswade who conceived with the help of IVF have met the world’s first test-tube baby as she celebrates turning 40.

Claire Darnbrough, David Lathlean and their five-month-old daughter Mia had the privilige of meeting Louise Brown as the anniversary of IVF is marked.

The couple had struggled to conceive for five years before seeking help.

“I was in my late 20s when we first started trying for a family and we didn’t really imagine that we would have any issues,” said Claire.

“My younger sister already had two children, and she hadn’t had any problems at all getting pregnant.

“My mother also struggled to conceive. She was 22 when Louise Brown was born and was eventually given hormone injections, which helped her to become pregnant. When I told the GP this we were referred for tests.”

After finding out she suffered from endometriosis, Claire and David started three cycles of IVF treatment.

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After the first cycle failed, the second was successful and Mia was born in February 2018 – much to the couple’s delight.

As part of the IVF anniversary celebrations, Louise Brown – who was born at Oldham General Hospital on this day in 1978 – honoured IVF pioneer Jean Purdy by unveiling a memorial.

Alongside Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards, Jean helped establish the Bourn Hall IVF clinic in Cambridgeshire. She is often referred to as ‘the forgotten IVF pioneer’.

Since the establishment of the clinic, more than 200,000 babies have been born thanks to the work at Bourn Hall.

Louise said: “My mum always spoke highly of Jean Purdy, so I was delighted to come and join in the tributes to her as she contributed so much in the early days of IVF.

“She kept in touch with mum after my birth.

“The best part of being the first IVF baby is that I get to meet so many babies.

“Every time I meet a family that have a child through IVF, I appreciate more and more how important my birth was.

“The work of the pioneers and the courage of my parents is still giving families hope and joy today.”