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EP 144: 6 million babies later – the IVF Story

EP 144: 6 million babies later – the IVF Story

It was so interesting talking to Connie Orbach about how she started her research to curate the British Science Museum’s exhibition about the story of IVF.

Connie Orbach, Curator at The British Science Museum

Connie herself admitted how she didn’t realise how much content she would find in the archives from Leslie Brown, regarding the correspondence she received from all around the world.

Connie talked about Jean Purdy who I’ve learned all about over the last couple of weeks and she is talked about as being IVF’s forgotten pioneer, despite being written about by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards as one of the three of them.

Jean Purdy, the forgotten IVF Pioneer

Connie has written a really good blog here Jean was hired as a lab technician however she was tasked with managing the laboratory and in reality she did much more. Jean Purdy was not just central to the running of the lab but also to the scientific work. Connie and I spoke about whether her gender meant she was taken less seriously by reporters? Possibly, seeing as she was recorded in the photos as being the ‘midwife’.

Patrick Steptoe, Jean Purdy and Robert Edwards, holding Louise           Brown in 1978

Was her role as a lab technician seen as unimportant next to that of the surgeon and the scientist? This is so ironic seeing as she is credited with first discovering the blastocyst embryo stage, one of the key breakthroughs in our understanding of an embryo’s development.

Whatever the reason, it was not for lack of trying from Edwards. He repeatedly emphasized Purdy’s importance and unsuccessfully lobbied her name to be added to the commemorative plaque placed at the site of their original clinic. Read more in Connie’s blog and here are some other articles are written for the exhibition

Sally Cheshire, chair of the HFEA has also written a blog for the exhibition. Martin Johnson discussing the challenges faced by Bob Edwards developing IVF. Gareth Downs on the male perspective: Bristol Archives wrote a blog recently about receiving the Lesley Brown Archive

To visit the exhibition find out more info here 

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The post EP 144: 6 million babies later – the IVF Story appeared first on The Fertility Podcast.

Source: The Fertility Podcast

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