When Louise Brown was born in 1978 she was the first IVF baby in the world. Now, IVF is a worldwide phenomenon with thousands of organisations devoted to fertility issues. Each month Louise Brown looks at an organisation and explains what they do and how they support fertility issues.
Hardly a day goes by without someone asking me “how does it feel to be the first person in the world to be born as a result of IVF?”
It is always a difficult question to answer and over the years I have given lots of different answers! Usually I say something like: “I don’t know how it feels not to be the first, as it has always been part of my life”.
But as I have travelled around the world in recent years and seen first hand what a difference IVF means to so many people – and met so many people and families who wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for IVF – I’ve started to answer in a different way. Now I say; “I’m proud of the fact that I was the first.”
Sadly, for some people that stigma still exists
When I was first born there was a huge stigma attached to being the only person in the world created this way. My mum had to put up with people looking into my pram and saying: ‘But she is just like any other baby’.
Unfortunately, many people still feel alone when they experience fertility issues and somehow that it is not normal to have to seek help in having a baby.
That is why I was delighted to be asked to support the #IVFandProud campaign launched by Ferring Pharmaceuticals to help reduce some of this stigma. I am an ambassador for the campaign and through social media and every means possible we want to spread the hashtag so that people realise they are not alone and they can be proud to be here, or be building their family, through IVF.
The campaign is a celebration of every baby, child, teenager or adult who is here today thanks to IVF, and every different family that has been created. I’ve been asking friends all over the world who are also #IVFandProud to join in so that those who are feeling the stigma can see just how many of us there are in the world.
IVF people are like a second family to me. We all have the fact that we had to rely on science to be here in common. We are all thankful for that and we are all #IVFandProud.
You can join in by contacting Ferring on Instagram @ferringpharmaceuticals.