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Englands Test-Tube Baby The first baby to be conceived outside of its mother promises to usher in a new and maybe a revolutionary era of human reproduction In July Lesley Brown was getting close to delivery This was said to be the worlds first test-tube baby at the Oldham and District General Hospital 190 miles outside of London The infant was created when the egg of the mother was joined with the fathers sperm in a special culture medium prepared by gynecologist Patrick Steptoe of Oldham Hospital and physiologist Robert Edwards of Cambridge University The new technique was intended for women whose Fallopian tubes were so damaged that the fertilized egg cannot pass through the tube to the womb The egg is extracted from the ovary with a laparoscope that is put through the abdomen The egg is then placed in a culture medium of special nutrients stimulating human tissue where it is fertilized by the mans sperm In 1976 Steptoe and Edwards reported in Lancet that a woman became pregnant this way but the pregnancy failed after 13 weeks Biologists point out that under normal circumstances 25 percent of the population is born with some genetic abnormalities They feared that if something was wrong with Britains test-tube baby correct or not to medicine science and not to nature However Dr DT Chalkley of the Department of Health Education and Welfare comments I think its highly unlikely that the risks to the developing embryo in this case are any greater than the course of ordinary reproduction Mrs Brown went through a number of tests including amniocentesis which detects the sex of the child in addition to chromosomal abnormalities such as retardation Steptoe tried to make her quit smoking but she had those occasional urges She knew all of the concerns about her and her baby because she had a television and radio in her room A nurse
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