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2010 Nobel for Physiology & Medicine Where were you at 5:47, the evening of July 7, 1978?

I take it I'm supposed to remember this?

Well, yeah – Louise Joy Brown was born!

Was she a member of the Partridge family?

NO she was the first person born from in vitro fertilization – the first test tube baby! And the man who developed IVF was just awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology.

Robert G. Edwards established the conditions necessary for human egg fertilization that had eluded other researchers for years. He began in the 1950's to investigate how human eggs mature, the effect of hormones and , when eggs can be fertilized by sperm.

His late colleague, Dr. Patrick Steptoe was the first to laparoscopically harvest mature eggs directly from a womans ovaries. It took them twenty years to then fertilize an egg in the lab, and another decade to coax the fertilized egg to divide properly and implant in the uterus.

But their sucess was controversial. After being criticized by religious leaders and ethicists, Dr. Edwards lost government funding for his work, so he and Dr. Steptoe persevered with private dollars.

By 1986, there were 1000 IVF or test tube babies. And today, there are four million because up to ten percent of the world's couples suffer with infertility.

Dr. Edwards's development of IVF not only furthered our understanding of human fertilization, it's also the basis of embryonic stem cell technology, which has the potential to make an even greater impact on human life.

It's a topic that's equally controversial which is why the Catholic church openly disapproves of the awarding of this Nobel for Dr. Edward's work.

Yet, we congratulate Robert G. Edwards and the other 2010 Nobel winners on reaching the ultimate of scientific recogniztion.

 

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The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2010 Press Release
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2010 award to Robert G. Edwards
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About the Nobel Prizes
Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace. The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden.
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Human in vitro fertilization
Extremely well written and illustrated description of the origins and practice of in vitro fertilization as developed by Drs. Robert G. Edwards and Patrick Steptoe.
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