In the late 1950s, Patrick C. Steptoe, a British gynecologist, established contact with Palmer of Paris and Frangenheim of Wuppertal, Germany, and studied laparoscopic technique under the tutelage of these pioneers. Despite the negative attitude among his colleagues, Steptoe soon became one of the most innovative researchers in the field of abdominal endoscopy, particularly laparoscopic sterilization. In the late 1960s, Steptoe began working with Robert Edwards, an embryologist, and launched an in-vitro fertilization project obtaining eggs by means of laparoscopy. Both researchers experienced years of frustration, disappointment, ethical and scientific criticism as well as a difficult relationship with the mass media. Finally, in July 1978, Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, was born in England.
Like many of his colleagues in the 1950s and 1960s, Patrick Christopher Steptoe (1913-1988), a gynecologist in Oldham, Great Britain, was concerned about the number of unnecessary laparotomies. Unfortunately, the Oldham group of hospitals was not a university clinic and Steptoe had scanty opportunity to develop his own research. In the late 1950s, he searched the medical literature for an alternative form of examination and came across publications about Decker's culdoscopy, the vaginal approach to view the abdomen. Since this method was not widespread in England, Steptoe, in 1958, went to Montreal, Boston, and New York in order to observe and learn the practical use of culdoscopy. However, Steptoe left America disappointed.1