The Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to doctor behind In-Vitro Fertilization "test tube baby" research
AP report on Robert Edwards
The Nobel Prize in Medicine was recently awarded to British scientist Robert Edwards, 85, for co-developing in vitro fertilization (IVF), which has brought about around four million "test tube babies" since the first baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978. IVF is the process of mixing egg and sperm in a laboratory and then implanting the early embryo in the woman’s womb. AP via Yahoo News reports that one in five couples can have a baby through IVF, roughly the same odds as a couple trying the natural way.
Christer Hoog, the member of the Nobel Prize Committee who presented the award, said in an AP report, "One to two percent of all newborns in Europe, America, Australia and other countries were conceived through IVF. It’s a safe and effective therapy. It’s regulated by strict ethical guidelines. Long-term studies have determined that IVF children are as healthy as other children."
Nobel Prize Committee Secretary Goran Hansson announces the winner of the award in the medicine category.
Edwards, now a professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge, had a research partner in developing IVF, Patrick Steptoe who died in 1988. They both faced controversy over the morality and safety of the treatment, according to the AP. The AP report said it was not immediately clear why it took decades for the Nobel to honor Edwards and Steptoe’s research. Hoog said, "It was, of course, very, very important that Louise Brown was healthy and that subsequent babies were also healthy."
Edwards was too ill to grant interviews to talk about his award but Nobel Prize Committee Secretary Goran Hansson said Edwards’ wife was "delighted." He said, "She was sure he would be delighted too."
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