In vitro fertilisation (IVF), which means fertilisation outside the womb, was first started in the 1960s by scientist Robert Edwards and gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe, who were colleagues at King’s College, London. Scientists were already experimenting with animal fertilisation outside the body at that time with satisfactory results. It struck Edwards and Steptoe then that IVF would be greatly benefit couples who had problems conceiving.
As the practice was considered controversial at that time, Edwards and Steptoe had trouble getting their research recognised, what more funded. Undeterred, the duo set up base at Oldham, United Kingdom, where they successfully delivered the first IVF baby girl, Louise Brown in 1978. The first IVF baby boy, Alaistair Macdonald, was born the following year.