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IVF pioneer Robert Edwards dies at the age of 87

Robert Edwards, the scientist known as the father of IVF for pioneering the development of “test tube babies” for couples unable to conceive naturally, died on Wednesday aged 87.

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 10 April 2013 after a long illness,” Cambridge University said in a statement on Wednesday.

robert-edwards-nobelThe Briton, who won the Nobel medicine prize for his achievement in 2010, started developing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in 1955 – work that culminated in 1978 in the birth of Louise Brown, that changed the world forever. Their work won them the gratitude of millions of people, but was criticised by the Vatican.
One year later, in 2011, he was knighted for “services to human reproductive biology“.

IVF is now used worldwide and has resulted in more than five million babies. Experts say that today, as many as 1 to 2 percent of babies in the Western world are conceived through IVF.

He was one of the giants of science in the 20th Century and pioneered the techniques which have given children to millions of couples.

Professor-Robert-EdwardsProfessor Sir Robert Edwards (left) with Louise Brown (right) and her mother Lesley Brown in 2008

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