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Canada's very own test tube baby

For many couples it's their worst nightmare. Years of trying and still, no baby. Adoption was once the only option. Nowadays there are fertility drugs, in vitro fertilization, and surrogate mothers. But with these modern-day solutions come new moral conundrums and questions: How far are we willing to go to fight infertility?

On December 25th, 1983, the first test tube baby conceived in Canada is born at Vancouver General Hospital. The birth of Robert John Saunders Reid is not announced until February 10th because parents Margaret and John worry that the fame will only lead to heartache. But today, heartache is far away. Five years of trying to get pregnant are at an end, as Margaret Reid cradles her now three-pound miracle in front of CBC television cameras.

Without in vitro fertilization, Reid could never get pregnant: she has no fallopian tubes. But she conceived with in vitro fertilization on her first attempt. The University of British Columbia research team which performed the procedure reported that two dozen previous attempts had been made on 16 other B.C. women before Reid's success. "I feel sick. Isn't it wonderful?" was all she could say to a reporter from Vancouver's The Province.
• Robert Reid was the first test tube baby produced in Canada, but not the first born in Canada. Catherine Rankin, who was impregnated at a British clinic, gave birth to test tube twins in Oakville in March 1982.
• On average, women are becoming mothers later in life. Margaret Reid was 32 years old when she gave birth to Robert. At that time, only 14 per cent of Canadian women were first time mothers at age 30 or above. By 1999, almost a third of women were 30 before they had their first child.
Medium: Television
Program: Newscentre
Broadcast Date: Feb. 10, 1984
Guest(s): Margaret Reid
Reporter: Wayne Williams
Duration: 2:38

Last updated: February 8, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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