Ads 468x60px

Monday, 11 October 2010

At last, a Nobel prize for the British scientist who invented IVF

The intensely modest ­British scientist who pioneered IVF has been honoured with a ‘long overdue’ Nobel prize for medicine.
Just seven years ago Robert Edwards joked that he wasn’t bothered about being overlooked for a knighthood, but a Nobel would be nice.
The 85-year-old was finally given the prestigious accolade for his achievements in fertility treatment which have brought the joy of parenthood to millions.
Professor Edwards, emeritus ­professor of human reproduction at Cambridge University, was heralded as the creator of modern reproductive medicine.
His work with gynaecologist and fellow Briton Dr Patrick Steptoe led to the birth in July 1978 of ­Louise Brown, the world’s first ‘test tube baby’.
Their research came against a backdrop of significant opposition from the medical and religious establishments.
They persevered, however, and in vitro fertilisation – whereby human eggs are fertilised outside the body and then implanted in the womb – has since resulted in 4.3million births worldwide.
The Nobel prize committee in Stockholm said Professor Edwards’s ‘achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity’.

Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby in this photo dated July 25, 1978, soon after her birth at Oldham General Hospital in Manchester