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July 26, 1978 – A historic day. Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) was born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The healthy baby was delivered shortly before midnight by caesarean section and weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces.
Before giving birth to Louise, Lesley Brown had suffered years of infertility due to blocked fallopian tubes. In November 1977, she underwent the then-experimental IVF procedure. A mature egg was removed from one of her ovaries and combined in a laboratory dish with her husband’s sperm to form an embryo. The embryo then was implanted into her uterus a few days later. Her IVF doctors, British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and scientist Robert Edwards, had begun their pioneering collaboration a decade earlier. Once the media learned of the pregnancy, the Browns faced intense public scrutiny. Louise’s birth made headlines around the world and raised various legal and ethical questions. It now made it possible for women who had previously been unable to give birth the opportunity to become pregnant where before it was impossible.
Needless to say, the future was in a Test Tube and we were amazed.
There was other news that day – Seems the U.S. dollar was improving against the German Mark, French Franc as well as other currencies around the world. That was viewed as good news, because it meant our deficit had lowered to $1.6 billion dollars the previous month, the smallest that deficit had been in over a year. The narrowing came in part because of an increase in the amount of goods the U.S. exported abroad; a record $12.1 billion worth of goods, a figure that was pushed upward by heavy sales of aircraft, chemicals, coal and metal-working machinery. While at the same, the amount of goods Americans bought from abroad dropped 2%, a figure that included a slight dip in the amount the U.S. paid for imports of oil. The figures were encouraging. The big deficits of previous months had been one of the factors cutting the value of the American dollar abroad.
All that, and much-much more for this July 26, 1978 as reported by Dallas Townsend and The CBS World News Roundup.