Five million babies around the world have now been born through in vitro fertilization (IVF), reported experts at a European conference this week. Not all of us lesbians create our families that way, of course (the technique is more often used by straight couples having trouble conceiving)—but since my spouse and I did (my egg, her womb), I thought it was worth a mention.
The International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies announced the data at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference, reports BBC News. The first baby born through IVF was the U.K.’s Louise Brown, in 1978.
And just in case any readers are unfamiliar with IVF, a few points of clarification: “Test tubes” are not in fact used to create “test tube babies” (an appellation I’d rather avoid in any case). Usually the shallower petri dish is the preferred option. Also, I’ve seen some journalists use the term “IVF” to mean any kind of assisted insemination, when IVF really only refers to insemination done outside the gestational mother’s body. The plain old “turkey baster method” (which does not in fact involve turkey basters, but rather syringes) is not IVF.
Terminology aside, the methods by which we create our families are not nearly as important as the methods by which we raise our children. Still, here’s to the science that made parenthood possible for some of us.
(If you are interested in further details on our particular story, please read my “Injections, Eggs, and Attorneys: How We Conceived.”)