Robert Edwards receives prize for work that led to 4 million births
The 2010 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine goes to British researcher Robert Edwards for pioneering in vitro fertilization, or IVF, a process that has led to roughly 4 million births since it was first successfully done in 1978.
Human IVF treats infertility caused when sperm and egg fail to meet within a prospective mother. A woman undergoing IVF is stimulated with hormones to produce eggs, and multiple eggs are removed from her ovaries and fertilized with sperm from a donor. Healthy fertilized eggs, or embryos, are then transferred back into the woman’s uterus. When successful, a pregnancy ensues.
Edwards began research on IVF in the 1950s and later worked with gynecologist Patrick Steptoe in refining the process of egg removal,