Robert Geoffrey Edwards was born the 27 of September of 1928 and he died the 10 of April of 2013 with 87 years. He was an English physiologist and pioneer in reproductive medicine, and in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in particular. Along with the surgeon Patrick Steptoe, Edwards successfully pioneered conception through IVF, which led to the birth of Louise Brown on 25 of July of 1978. They founded the first IVF program for infertile patients and trained other scientists in their techniques. Edwards was the founding editor-in-chief of Human Reproduction in 1986. In 2010, Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the development of in vitro fertilization.
In one hand, do you know what's the meaning or the importance of the Nobel Prize?
There is no other prize in the intellectual realm with the prestige of the Nobel Prizes. They also have a visibility that can hardly be compared to any other. In an age in which we are gradually losing whole sets of values, fundamentally humanistic ones, the Nobel Prizes are one of our last bastions. We seek in them a reference, not only of excellence, but of honesty, enthusiasm, commitment to ideals, that inspires both laymen and professionals. Many of the winners were recognized among his peers as unique individuals, long before they were awarded the Prize. And afterwards they have continued to behave like people with great human qualities. That is why living with them for a week in a relaxed atmosphere in Lindau can be a tremendous inspiration and example for the young, and not so young, who come from all over the world to share their experiences with them, listen to their advice and feel one with them.
Of all the Nobel Prizes, those of Science (Physics, Chemistry and in our case the Medicine) have a more fundamental character, there is a degree of truth associated with them that is not present in the Nobel Prize for Peace, Economy and Literature and yet they all help build what we might call the “Great Humanity”. Their findings not only generate progress and allow society to develop, but also help us to know ourselves. Detailed knowledge about the laws and mechanisms governing Nature may have no immediate application.
In the other hand, do you know what's the meaning of the In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
In vitro fertilization is a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body: in vitro. The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman's ovulatory process, removing an egg or eggs from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a liquid in a laboratory. The fertilised egg is cultured for 2–6 days in a growth medium and is then transferred to the same or another woman's uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.
IVF techniques can be used in different types of situations. It is a technique of assisted reproductive technology for treatment of infertility. IVF techniques are also employed in gestational surrogacy, in which case the fertilised egg is implanted into a surrogate's uterus, and the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate. In some situations, donated eggs or sperms may be used. Some countries ban or otherwise regulate the availability of IVF treatment, giving rise to fertility tourism. Restrictions on availability of IVF include costs and age to carry a healthy pregnancy to term. Due to the costs of the procedure, IVF is mostly attempted only after less expensive options have failed.
The first successful birth of a "test tube baby", was Louise Brown, occurred in 1978. She was born as a result of natural cycle IVF where no stimulation was made. With egg donation and IVF, women who are past their reproductive years or menopause can still become pregnant. After the IVF treatment many couples are able to get pregnant without any fertility treatments.
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