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Monday 24th October 2016

Nobel prize for British IVF pioneer

4th October 2010

Professor Robert Edwards, who devised the in vitro fertilisation treatment, has been awarded the Nobel prize for medicine.


Professor Edwards' research into methods of improving fertility from the 1950s to the 1970s led to the birth of the first "test tube baby" in July 1978.

Almost four million babies have been born since that date because of IVF treatment. The Nobel prize committee stated that his research had allowed infertile couples - a condition suffered by 10% of couples around the globe - to be treated.

Professor Richards, who is 85, first started his work more than fifty years ago. He discovered that fertilising eggs in test tubes could treat infertility.

He researched the possibility of fertilising egg cells from rabbits in test tubes with sperm with his colleague Patrick Steptoe.

The success of their research means that infertile couples have a one in five chance of success with IVF - similar to that experience by fertile couples who conceive naturally.

Professor Basil Tarlatzis, past-president of the International Federation of Fertility Societies, said: "This is a well deserved honour. IVF has opened new avenues of hope for millions of couples throughout the world."

"Edwards and Steptoe were real pioneers, and the award of the Nobel prize honours not just their work, but the whole field of reproductive science. No-one deserves this award more, and we congratulate him."


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