updated 02/07/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/07/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
Louise Brown, the world's first test-tube baby, was a 1-in-100 success when she was born July 25, 1978. Yet when the little bundle from Bristol, England, made her debut in PEOPLE Jan. 1, 1979, her father, John, proclaimed, "She's going to be an ordinary girl. What I'm hoping is that by the time she goes to school, there will be hundreds like her." His wish came true—and then some. Fifteen years later there have been an estimated 100,000 in-vitro births worldwide. And though Louise's childhood was punctuated by "ruined birthday parties with the press parked outside our house," John recalls, "we managed." John, a retired truck driver, and his wife, Lesley, still keep in touch with Robert Edwards, the British physiologist who helped achieve their daughter's conception (the other doctor, gynecologist Patrick Steptoe, died in 1988), but Louise rarely reflects on the circumstances of her birth. "I forget about it," she says. "I don't think about it." Still living in Bristol with her folks and her test-tube sister Natalie, 11, Louise, nicknamed Browners, attends secondary school, likes to swim and ride horses, idolizes Tom Cruise and watches MTV. And when people ask her how she got out of that test tube, she has a ready answer. "It wasn't a test tube," she replies. "It was a petri dish."