Robert Edwards, an 85-year-old professor emeritus at Cambridge University, England, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for developing the breakthrough process of in-vitro fertilization.
Infertility a medical condition that affects more than 10 percent of all couples worldwide, and this technique has helped millions of infertile couples to have children.
Edwards began investigating IVF back in the 1950s and 1960s. Working with gynecological surgeon Patrick Steptoe, who died in 1988, he developed the technique where human egg cells are fertilized outside the body after which they are implanted in the womb.
The first baby to be born in Great Britain through the groundbreaking procedure was Louise Brown, born on July 25, 1978. It was a revolution in fertility treatment and gave hope to millions of couples who could not have children without medical help.
In awarding the prize in Stockholm today, the medicine prize committee said it was Robert Edwards’ success has made it possible to treat infertility.
The citation said that approximately 4 million people have been born thanks to IVF,and said Robert Edwards’ vision has become a reality that brings joy to infertile people all over the world.
The chances of an infertile couple taking home a baby after a cycle of IVF treatment today is one in five. That is about the same chance that healthy couples have of conceiving a baby naturally.
The first IVF clinic was founded by Steptoe and Edwards at Bourn Hall in Cambridge, in the United Kingdom.