Sir Robert Edwards, test-tube baby pioneer, dies at age 87
Sir Robert Edwards was a pioneer in reproductive medicine and in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), successfully pioneered conception through IVF which led to the birth of the first test-tube baby (Louise Brown) in 1978, and in 2010 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the development of IVF. Since 1978 more than five million IVF babies have been born worldwide
From the Dailymail.co.uk
The IVF pioneer Professor Sir Robert Edwards has died aged 87 after a long illness.
He was knighted in 2011, a year after being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
Today, a spokesperson for Cambridge University, said: ‘It is with deep sadness that the family announces that Professor Sir Robert Edwards, Nobel prizewinner, scientist and co-pioneer of IVF, passed away peacefully in his sleep on 10th April 2013 after a long illness.’
The statement added that he would be ‘greatly missed by family, friends and colleagues’, adding that ‘his work has had an immense impact throughout the world’.
Test tube miracle Louise, 34, today paid tribute to Sir Robert, saying he had become an honorary member of the family, attending her wedding and visiting regularly.
She said: ‘I was really sad to hear the news today. I have always regarded Robert Edwards as like a grandfather to me.
‘His work, along with Patrick Steptoe, has brought happiness and joy to millions of people all over the world by enabling them to have children.
Edit: Interesting snippet below reported by USA Today regarding the Vatican’s stance of IVF and Sir Edwards:
“(Edwards) was an extraordinary scientist,” said Peter Braude, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Kings College London, who was at Cambridge when Edwards and Steptoe were developing IVF. “There was such hysteria around the kind of work he was doing.”
Religious leaders and other opponents characterized conception outside the womb abnormal, and the Vatican has been extremely vocal in its objection to IVF.
For his part, Edwards remained resolute in the face of criticism.
“Ethicists decried us, forecasting abnormal babies, misleading the infertile and misrepresenting our work as really acquiring human embryos for research,” he wrote in the biomedical research journal Nature Medicine in 2001.
When Edwards was awarded a Nobel prize in 2010 for his work on IVF, the Roman Catholic Church denounced the Nobel award, arguing that human life should only begin through intercourse and not artificially. The Vatican said Edwards “bore a moral responsibility for all subsequent developments in assisted reproduction technology and for all abuses made possible by IVF.
In 2011, Edwards was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II “for services to human reproductive biology.”