Louise Joy Brown was born at Oldham General Hospital, Oldham, by planned Caesarean section delivered by registrar John Webster. She weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces (2.608 kg) at birth. Her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to conceive for nine years. Lesley faced complications of blocked fallopian tubes.
On 10 November 1977, Lesley Brown underwent a procedure, later to become known as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), developed by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards. Edwards was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine for this work. Although the media referred to Brown as a "test tube baby", her conception actually took place in a Petri dish. Her younger sister, Natalie Brown, was also conceived through IVF four years later, and became the world's fortieth child after conception by IVF. In May 1999, Natalie was the first human born after conception by IVF to give birth herself—without IVF—to daughter Casey.
In 2004, Brown married nightclub doorman (bouncer) Wesley Mullinder. Dr. Edwards attended their wedding. Their son Cameron, conceived naturally, was born on 20 December 2006. Brown's second son, Aiden Patrick Robert, was born in August 2013.
Brown's father died in 2006. Her mother died on 6 June 2012 in Bristol Royal Infirmary at the age of 64 due to complications from a gallbladder infection.