IVF Turns 40: A Conversation with the First US 'Test Tube Baby', Elizabeth Carr

This month, December 2021, IVF turns 40. Or, more specifically, Elizabeth Carr, the first US IVF baby, turns 40.  

Making headline news in 1981, Elizabeth was known as a “test tube” baby. The Washington Post coverage at the time said that the test tube baby, "is the first successful product of a 21 month old in-vitro fertilization program that literally fertilizes human eggs in plastic dishes at the Eastern Virginia Medical School. Both the baby and our mother Judith Carr, a 28 year old Westminster Mass school teacher leader were pronounced perfectly healthy. 'The baby cried right away. And that was very reassuring', said Dr. Mason Andrews who performed the cesarean. 'It was a relief to know this was a “normal” baby'."

Elizabeth was, in fact, healthy and “normal”; but nothing about the attention she received as an early "science baby" was normal.

On this episode, Andrea sits down with Elizabeth to talk about what it was like to grow up knowing she was created in a lab, what she has seen change in the world of reproduction during her lifetime, and what she hopes the future holds not only for her, but for the future of fertility. 

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