America’s first test-tube baby (1982)

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It’s a girl!

Doctors told Laurie and Jon Steel: “You will never have a baby of your own.” But the young couple refused to accept such a hopeless verdict. They knew that only a medical breakthrough could help them, and so they searched until they found it…

Laurie and Jon Steel have a baby, a little girl with her father’s bright eyes and her mother’s lovely, generous mouth. Her name is Samantha.

She was born late one night in October. To her parents, her first cry was a sound of piercing joy, her appearance the glorious ending to an incredible story; because, by the laws of human anatomy, Laurie Steel cannot conceive a child.

Yet today, radiant and filled with a sense of triumph, she holds her newborn daughter. The Steels’ long-awaited and desperately wanted little girl is the first American test-tube baby.

The in vitro procedure for fertilization, developed in England by gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and researcher Robert Edwards, gave Laurie her only chance to give birth to a child.

Pretty, cheerful Laurie Steel is not an obsessive or compulsive woman. She could and would have gone on with her life quite productively if circumstances had compelled her to remain irrevocably childless.

She simply, instinctively and profoundly wanted to have a baby, to love it, to meet the challenge of raising it and to share it with Jon. She wanted the experience; she felt, as a woman, she should have it. And, as she confided to her diary, “I did not want to look back from middle age feeling that I hadn’t at least tried everything possible that technology in my time had to offer.”

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