Like many other moms, I have Robert Edwards, Ph.D., to thank for my precious little boy. That’s because Edwards, an 85-year-old University of Cambridge professor emeritus, was a pioneer of in-vitro fertilization -- the method I used to conceive my son.
I’ve always wanted to thank Edwards in person and express my gratitude to him, so I was thrilled to hear that yesterday, he received the 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine for his trailblazing work in IVF. It’s a well-deserved (and long overdue) honor for a man whose work forever repaired the heartbreak of infertility for so many women and their partners.
Edwards began working on IVF in the 1950s, creating a technique in which egg cells are fertilized outside the body and are then implanted in the womb. Many scientists initially criticized Edwards’ technique because they believed that IVF babies would be born unhealthy, but Dr. Edwards persevered, and in 1978, the world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown of Britain, was born.
Today, of course, IVF is a household word. The technique is responsible for the birth of approximately 4 million babies to date, and the probability of having a baby after one cycle of IVF today is one in five -- almost the exact same odds of conceiving the old-fashioned way. For this, and so much more, we have this esteemed scientist to thank.
Did you have a baby through IVF? Chime in below!