The birth of Louise Brown in Oldham, England, on July 25, 1978, was front-page news all over the world. Time magazine put it on the cover. London's Daily Mail paid $570,000 for an exclusive. Truly, as Newsweek put it, her first yell was ``a cry heard round the brave new world.''
For Louise Brown was the first ``test-tube baby.'' (It wasn't a test tube, it was a petri dish, she herself pointed out in 1994, but the name stuck.) More formally, hers was the first successful birth after in-vitro fertilization. And it was not just a joy in itself but a source of both wonder and hope for millions of infertile couples.
It's worth remembering that first reaction, because some people are trying to rewrite the history. Faced with public opposition to cloning and ```designer babies,'' commentators frequently say that we'll get used to them, pointing to the public's turnaround to embrace in-vitro fertilization. In fact, the public reaction at the time was fascination and approval. A Gallup poll showed that by late 1978 a stunning 93 percent of Americans...