No more test tube babies

Approximately 3 million babies have been born by IVF treatment since the birth of the first baby Louise Brown.

Back in 1978 the birth of Louise Brown amazed the world, and shocked some. The use of the term "test tube baby" did not exactly help matters, but was used by the media at the time to reinforce the medical and technological leap forward.

Now IVF fertility treatment has become usual, almost unremarkable, (except for those who benefit from it).

However, the cruel irony is that it has increasingly become privatised and expensive. Within the NHS it has become rationed and rare. Private clinics have benefited from the initial work, which took years to perfect and continue to benefit from further advances in treatment.

However, the scientists and doctors who devoted their careers to creating and perfecting these techniques did it for medical science and the improvement of lives. Straight profit and cost were not their motivating factors.

So the world must thank again doctors Patrick Steptoe, Robert Edwards, Alan Trounson , Alex Lopata and Carl Wood.

But we should remember the warnings made by Lord Robert Winston that IVF will soon be beyond the financial reach of many.

Lesley Brown (and other patients) endured endless treatment and failures before success finally arrived. At her passing her bravery should be remembered, her trust in those doctors was rightly rewarded.

These medical advances were designed to benefit as many patients as possible.

The technology succeeded and continues to do so, but availability is failing.