IFV pioneer Robert G. Edwards dies at 87

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 11, 2013 08:02 hrs

Robert G. Edwards, who provided a new dimension in the history of medical science by making it possible for millions of infertile couples to have children through his development of in vitro fertilization (IVF), died on Wednesday at his home. He was 87.

The Nobel laureate was declared dead by The University of Cambridge, where he worked for many years. According to reports, he died in his sleep after a long illness.

Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2010.

The British physiologist was a pioneer in reproductive medicine and in-vitro fertilisation in particular.

Along with surgeon Patrick Steptoe, Edwards successfully pioneered his conception through IVF, which led to the birth of the first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, on 25 July 1978.

"I have always regarded Robert Edwards as like a grandfather to me. I am glad that he lived long enough to be recognised with a Nobel prize for his work, and his legacy will live on with all the IVF work being carried out throughout the world," Loiuse Brown was quoted as saying on BBC.

Edwards was born in Batley, Yorkshire and after finishing schooling from Manchester Central High School, he served in the British Army, and then completed his undergraduate studies in agriculture at the Bangor University.

He then studied at the Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh. In 1955 he received his Ph.D. and in 1963 he joined the University of Cambridge, where he has been a fellow at Churchill College.

In about 1960 Edwards commenced his work in human fertilisation, and he continued his work at Cambridge, laying the groundwork for his later success.

In 1968 he was able to achieve fertilisation of a human egg in the laboratory and started to collaborate with Patrick Steptoe, a gynecologic surgeon from Oldham.

So even as the world mourns his death, his development will continue to benefit mankind forever.

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