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Father of the Test Tube Baby Robert Edwards wins Nobel Prize 2010

Updated on January 20, 2014
Robert Edwards with first ever Test Tube Baby
Robert Edwards with first ever Test Tube Baby

Robert Edwards CBE, was born in Manchester in 1925, he is a British Physiologist and a pioneer in reproductive medicine, his particular field is In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). In 1960 Robert studied human fertilization and continued to study at Cambridge, and in 1968 he achieved fertilization of a human egg in the Labortary and started to work closely with a Gynecologic Surgeon from Oldham called Patrick Steptoe, Robert Edwards developed human culture media to allow the fertilization and early embryo culture, while Patrick Steptoe utilized Laparoscopy to recover Ovocytes from patients with tubal infertility. Their attempts met a lot of criticism and hostility from others.

However on the 25th 1978 at 11.47pm, the birth of Louise Brown at the Oldham General Hospital made medical history as the first ever test tube baby, the newly founded IVF would go on to help millions of infertile couples to have babies of their own, It is estimated that four million children have been born through IVF, Their breakthrough laid the groundwork for further innovations such as intracytoplasmatic sperm injection (ICSI) and embryo biopsy (PGD) and other stem cell research. Patrick Steptoe sadly died in 1988, but Robert Edwards has continued a career as a scientist and an editor of medical Journals.

Today Robert Edwards was awarded this years Nobel Prize for Medicine, the prize committee said, "His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition affecting 10% of all couples worldwide." It wasn't always easy for Robert though, when he first started researching fertlizing human eggs, he met with huge critisism from his colleagues and even more from the government and the churches who didn't believe it was natural. He also had to rely on privately donated funds as people didn't want to be seen investing in such a highly critisized experiment, but dispite all that both Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe went on to develop a milestone of modern medicine.

Prof Edwards, who is ill, was not available to speak to the media. Nobel committee member Goran Hansson told a news conference. "Unfortunately, Prof Edwards is not in good health at this time," "I spoke to his wife, and she was delighted. She was sure he would also be delighted.

The first IVF baby, Louise Brown, who is now 32, said: "Its fantastic news. Me and mum are so glad that one of the pioneers of IVF has been given the recognition he deserves. "We hold Bob in great affection and are delighted to send our personal congratulations to him and his family at this time."

Professor Basil Tarlatzis, past-president of the International Federation of Fertility Societies, said:

"This is a well deserved honour. "IVF has opened new avenues of hope for millions of couples throughout the world. "Edwards and Steptoe were real pioneers, and the award of the Nobel Prize honours not just their work, but the whole field of reproductive science. "

After their breakthrough work, Robert went on to nurture the development of the assisted reproduction.

"No-one deserves this award more, and we congratulate him."


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      Smita T. Yohannan 7 years ago

      This year's Nobel Prize for Medicine has been well deserved....but sadly it has come quite late(the Nobel Committee must take the age of the winners into consideration also)for such a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of medicine which has changed the lives of millions ofcouples worldwide...Dr. Patrick Steptoe equally deserved recognition...sadly he's no more with us to see the effects of this pathbreaking technique having its effect.