Robert Edwards was born in 1925 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The professor was also known as the father of Test tube babies in 1950. This is when fertilization of human egg was done successfully in the cell cultures. A lot of work was further put in place so that in 1978, the first IVF baby was born. The technology has since been improved upon by Edwards and the team and has been shared with other colleagues in other places of the world.
Some of the notable achievements attributed to Edwards and the team is the fact that IVF has helped parents to conceive and deliver about 4 million babies worldwide. Some of these IVF babies are now parents who conceived naturally. It is because of this contribution in the treatment of infertility that the Nobel Foundation referred to Edwards contributions as a milestone in the development of modern medicine. Currently, IVF is an established treatment of couples whose fertilization cannot take place inside the body.
After a lot of tests, the coming on board of Gynecologist, Patrick Steptoe who is a pioneer in Laparoscopy, enabled the transformation of IVF into practicing medicine as practiced today. Laparoscopy was another controversial technique which involved removing the eggs from the human ovary. This was then placed in a cell culture and fertilization done by mixing it with sperm.
After the successful analysis of the hormones of the parents, accurate determination of the opportune moment of fertilizing the egg was done. This led to the birth of the first test tube baby in 1978. This success made Steptoe and Edwards to form the Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge University. This facility has since been used to train cell biologist and Gynecologist from all parts of the world. Edwards was the head of the Research and Development until retirement. A lot of improvement was done in the IVF technique in Bourn Hall Clinic making it more effective and safe for the couples. By 1986, over 1000 test tube babies had been born in the world.
Today, IVF is an established therapy for dealing with the problem of infertility. According to a study done for a long time to follow up the babies born as a result of IVF, it has been found that the test tube babies are as healthy as the naturally conceived ones. Robert Edwards vision of making the infertile people enjoy with their biological children has been successful. Many groups of people who initially opposed IVF therapy have come to accept it