Sir Robert G Edwards
(27 Sep 1925 - 10 Apr 2013)

Sir Robert G Edwards was a British Physiologist who received the Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine in the year 2010 for his revolutionary work in development of in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

He was born in Manchester, completed his undergraduate studies in agriculture from the University of Wales, and received his PhD in 1955 from University of Edinburgh. Sir Robert Edwards joined the University of Cambridge in 1963 as Faculty.

Sir Robert Edwards began his studies on human fertilization in 1960; with first success coming up in 1968, when he achieved fertilization of the human egg in a laboratory (in vitro fertilization). Sir Edwards along with a gynecologist, Patrick Steptoe established the Bourn Hall Clinic, the world's first IVF centre. He was the first to show that human oocytes could undergo in vitro maturation as well as fertilization in vitro. He was also the first to show that in vitro fertilized human oocytes could give rise to early stage embryos and blastocysts.

Sir Edwards’s research made a breakthrough in medicine, offering a treatment for infertility- with the birth of Louise Joy Brown through IVF (world’s first test tube baby) on 25th July 1978 at 11.47 pm. This was a ray of hope for all those infertile couples who could not have a baby. IVF now had moved from vision to reality ushering new era in reproductive medicine.

A few original articles by Sir Edwards on his pioneering works which later earned him a Nobel prize are as follows:

Edwards RG. Maturation in vitro of human ovarian oocytes. Lancet 1965; 2:926-929.

Edwards RG, Bavister BD, Steptoe PC. Early stages of fertilization in vitro of human oocytes matured in vitro. Nature 1969; 221:632-635.

Edwards RG, Steptoe PC, Purdy JM. Fertilization and cleavage in vitro of human oocytes matured in vivo. Nature 1970; 227:1307-1309.

Steptoe PC, Edwards RG. Birth after the reimplantation of a human embryo. Lancet 1978; 2:366.

Edwards RG. The bumpy road to human in vitro fertilization. Nature Med 2001; 7:1091-4.