IVF pioneer to be honoured with blue plaque tribute

One of the scientists who pioneered the first test-tube baby will be honoured with a blue plaque outside his childhood home in Witney, Oxfordshire.

Patrick Steptoe, who died in 1988, had worked with colleagues Robert Edwards and Jean Purdy to develop IVF treatment at a lab in Oldham.

They established their success with the birth of Louise Brown, the world’s first test-tube baby, on July 25 1978.

The blue plaque to honour IVF pioneer Patrick Steptoe outside his childhood home in Witney, Oxfordshire. (Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic/ PA)
The blue plaque will be placed outside his childhood home (Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic/ PA)

They went on to set up a clinic at Bourn Hall in Cambridgeshire and to date more than six million IVF babies have been born around the world.

A blue plaque to all three pioneers was unveiled at the former lab site in Greater Manchester in 2015.

Louise Brown said Steptoe was “like a grandfather” to her.

“My mother, Lesley Brown, always said that she trusted him from the first moment that she met him,” she said. “Patrick Steptoe died when I was 10-years-old so I did not know him well.

“We last met when we were guests on a TV programme together and he was proud of the children he had helped bring into the world.

“His legacy will live on as there are now millions of people in the world who owe their existence to the work of the IVF pioneers.”

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