Thursday, 11 April 2013

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to the creator and fearless fighter for 'in-vitro fertilisation' called Robert Edwards

Robert, physiologist, pioneer of in-vitro fertilisation, creator of the world's first test tube baby and Nobel prize winner, has died at the age of 87.

What you possibly didn't know about Robert, that he :

* was born, one of three sons in a working-class family in the Yorkshire mill town of Batley, his father, a labourer on the Settle to Carlisle railway and his mother, a machinist in a local mill. 

* got a scholarship to attend Manchester Central High School for Boys, then in 1943, during the Second World War, at the age of 18, was conscripted into the Army and served in Palestine. 

* in 1948, joined University College of North Wales at Bangor to read agricultural science, found it to be devoid of scientific rigour, switched to zoology and was devastated, in 1951, to get just a 'pass' degree.

* had his potential recognised by Professor Conrad Waddington, who accepted him for a diploma and then a PhD in genetics at Edinburgh University.

* initially focused his work on the possibility that birth defects might arise through errors in chromosomal segregation during egg maturation or fertilisation and worked with Ruth Fowler, who he married in 1954, to demonstrate that eggs could be induced to mature according to a schedule through hormone treatment.

* in the late 1950s and early 60s, worked on contraceptive development at Institute of Technology in California and the National Institute for Medical Research in London, spent a year at Glasgow and then, in 1963 moved to Cambridge and the University, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.

 In 1968 was able to achieve fertilisation of a human egg in the laboratory and started to collaborate with Patrick Steptoe, a gynaecological surgeon a pioneer in key hole surgery.

* with Patrick faced obstacles that would have deterred a less determined pair with their work attacked by religious leaders, scientific and clinical colleagues and the press and the refusal of the British Government to fund their research.

* later said that he had felt "quite alone" at the time, but that he'd been carried by his absolute certainty that eventually he would be proved right,

* in 1978, at the age of 53, was responsible for the conception and therefore the birth of Louise Brown, the world's first 'test-tube baby', making medical history and creating a new way for childless couples  to procreate through IVF.

* with Patrick, founded the Bourn Hall Clinic as a place to advance their work and train new specialists and on Patrick's death in 1988, continued his career as a scientist 
and an editor of medical journals.

* by 2010, was awarded the 'Nobel Prize in Physiology' for  the development of in-vitro fertilisation, the year which witnessed the fact that an estimated 4 million children had been born by IVF with 170,000 coming from donated embryos.

Louise Brown said :
" I've always regarded Robert Edwards as like a grandfather to me. His work, along with Patrick Steptoe, has brought happiness and joy to millions all over the world by enabling them to have children. I am glad he lived long enough to be recognised with a Nobel prize for his work and his legacy will live on with all the IVF work being carried out throughout the world."

Martin Johnson, Professor of Reproductive Science at the University of Cambridge said: 
"Bob Edwards was a remarkable man who changed the lives of so many people. He was not only a visionary in his science but also in his communication to the wider public about matters scientific in which he was a great pioneer."

Kate Brian, mother of two children conceived by IVF :

" It always seemed strange to me that a man who had done so much for so many didn't gain the accolades he truly deserved until relatively recently, receiving a Nobel prize in 2010 and a knighthood in 2011. Edwards may not receive the pomp and circumstance of a ceremonial funeral, but he will be remembered forever in the hearts of those of us who have benefited from his work."

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