He created a technique whereby eggs from a woman are removed
and fertilized by sperms in a
technique takes place outside the body, the term ‘in vitro’ is used.
The fertilized egg is then allowed to grow. Two-three days
after fertilization, the developed egg, now known as ‘zygote’, is transferred
back into the woman’s uterus in a procedure known as ‘embryo transfer’.
Edwards was a scientist and he needed the help of a
gynecologist to help him with extracting the eggs and transferring the embryos.
That is when Patrick Steptoe stepped
in and the rest is history!
Louis Brown, the
first IVF baby, was born on July
25,1978. A couple of years after Louis was born Edwards and Steptoe started their
first IVF clinic at Cambridge’s Bourn
There were speculations galore regarding the health and
viability of IVF babies but when Louis Brown delivered a male child, Cameron, in 2007, a lot of dust
IVF became a revolution! It became pivotal to Assisted
Reproductive Technology(ART). Today, besides IVF there are several techniques such as IUI, ICSI, embryo hatching,
sperm selection and many more to suit patient needs.
Due to this spurt in technical advances, the chances of a
couple undergoing ART to take home a
baby is one in five which is the
same as that for ‘problem-free’ couples.
Patrick Steptoe died in 1988, but Edwards has lived long
enough to bask in the glory of his work which has, until now, helped millions
of childless couples. According to the ESHRE, 300,000 million babies are born worldwide, each year, through ART
What took the Nobel committee so long to acknowledge Edwards
work remains a mystery. Posthumous Nobel is disallowed, therefore Patrick
Steptoe cannot be considered for the prize. However, it is widely understood
that the lion’s share of credit and merit for the work must go to Edwards and
that he deserves a Nobel on his own.
late than never, so goes the adage.
Ailing and 85 years of age, Robert Edward may not be a picture of joy on
hearing the Nobel News but his work has, indeed, given the proverbial stoke a