The 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine was announced Monday and goes to Robert Edwards of Britain who developed in-vitro fertilization back in the 1970′s. The controversial scientific breakthrough was not immediately welcomed with open arms but has gone on to become a godsend for millions of infertile couples.
The 85-year-old Robert Edwards is a professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge and began working on in-vitro fertilization in the 1950′s. The technique allows egg cells to be fertilized outside the woman’s body and then implanted in her uterus. Edwards developed the technique with colleague Patrick Steptoe, who passed away in 1988.
The world’s first baby to be born using in-vitro fertilization entered the world on July 25, 1978 in Britain. Her name is Louise Brown and her birth marked a new day in the way the world viewed fertility treatment. In 2007 the 32-year-old mother gave birth to a naturally conceived son named Cameron, and she currently lives in the English sea town of Bristol.
When you look at the odds, IVF ranks right up there with conceiving naturally. A couple’s chance of conceiving naturally after one cycle of IVF is 1 in 5.
The Nobel Prize committee in Stockholm had lots to say about Edwards’ work.
His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity including more than 10 percent of all couples worldwide. Approximately 4 million individuals have been born thanks to IVF. Today, Robert Edwards’ vision is a reality and brings joy to infertile people all over the world.
The Nobel Prize in medicine award was the first of the 2010 award announcements. Created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the impressive awards were first given out in 1901 and come with about $1.5 million and a gold medal.