'Now She's Just an Ordinary Baby': The Birth of IVF in the British Press.

28 Feb 2018

The birth of Louise Brown, the first baby born through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), in England in 1978 attracted worldwide media attention. This article examines how the contemporary British news media framed this momentous event. Drawing on the example of the Daily Mail's coverage, it focuses on the way in which the British press depicted Louise's parents' emotions, marital relationship and social class in a context of political and economic crisis and resurgent social conservatism. The British press framed the Browns as ordinary and respectable, noting their work ethic, family orientation and moral values. The article argues that the human-interest angle that the press used to represent this story created a dominant narrative in which IVF was simply a means of helping married heterosexual couples have babies and that this established a frame for subsequent depictions of IVF, as well as contributing to its rapid normalisation.