Doris & John Del-Zio at the trial

Doris & John Del-Zio at the trial
July 17, 1978

The Del-Zio lawsuit goes to trial in Manhattan.

July 25, 1978

At 11:47pm local time, Louise Joy Brown is born in Oldham. Weighing five pounds, 12 ounces and arriving by Caesarean section, she is the world’s first test tube baby, and the delivery is filmed by a government camera crew. Louise is a healthy, happy baby, and her birth sets off a worldwide media blitz.

Earlier that same day, the Joneses arrive in Norfolk, where a local reporter asks if a test tube baby is possible in the United States. Howard Jones says yes — all it will take is money. He subsequently receives a call from a former patient offering the funds to open an IVF clinic.

August 18, 1978

After thirteen hours of deliberations, the jury finds for the Del-Zios and awards them $50,003, of which a mere $3 is allocated as John's damages. Later that month a Harris poll finds that 60% of Americans support IVF, and under the right circumstances, more than half would be willing to try it themselves.

January 4, 1979

Alastair MacDonald, England's second test tube baby and the first boy, is born.

March 1979

In the U.S., after holding 11 public meetings, the Ethics Advisory Board approves federal funding of IVF research.

January 8, 1980

After a series of contentious meetings and despite some political opposition, Howard and Georgeanna Jones’ IVF clinic at Eastern Virginia Medical School receives regulatory approval from the state of Virginia.

March 1, 1980: America's First IVF Clinic Opens

The Joneses’ clinic opens to widespread press coverage, but by the end of the year, none of its first 23 IVF implants has resulted in a pregnancy. Georgeanna Jones then tries putting her patients on fertility drugs.

June 23, 1980

Australia's first test tube baby, Candice Elizabeth Reed, is born.

April 17, 1981: 1981-1987

Jones’ patient Judy Carr is implanted with a fertilized egg on her 28th birthday.

October 2, 1981

Samantha Steel, a test tube baby born to American parents, is born in England.

Carr family

The Carr family
December 28, 1981

At 7:46am local time, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, America’s first test tube baby, is born by Caesarean section.


Vatican Radio condemns IVF as immoral, yet public opinion has shifted to support the procedures as infertile couples seize the new possibility to become parents. Six other American universities open their own IVF clinics. In September the Washington Post reports that 54 test tube babies have already been born in England, and another 33 have been born in Australia.

January 17, 1983

Columbia-Presbyterian opens the first IVF clinic in New York. Vande Wiele is the co-director, along with Georgianna Jagiello.

August, 14, 1983

Raymond Vande Wiele dies of a heart attack at the age of 60.

March 10, 1987

The Vatican issues an official statement opposing IVF.

Dolly the sheep

Dolly the sheep
July 5, 1996: Dolly is Cloned

The first cloned animal, a sheep named Dolly, is born. Three-quarters of Americans surveyed in a Time/CNN poll consider cloning “against the will of God.”

May 13, 1999

Natalie Brown becomes the first test tube baby to become a mother when she gives birth to a child conceived naturally. She is the younger sister of Louise Brown, who was the world

February 6, 2003

February 6: Landrum Brewer Shettles dies.


In vitro fertilization has become a mainstream medical technology, albeit one reserved mostly for patients who can afford the expensive treatments. There are some half a million test tube babies in the world, and about 450 IVF clinics in the United States alone.

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