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His wife is Ruth Fowler Edwards, the granddaughter of physicist Ernest Rutherford and daughter of physicist Ralph Fowler.

Edwards was born in Manchester. After finishing Manchester Central High School on Whitworth Street in central Manchester, he served in the British Army, and then completed his undergraduate studies in agriculture at the Bangor University. Subsequently he studied at the Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh. In 1955 he received his Ph.D. and in 1963 he joined the University of Cambridge, where he has been a fellow at Churchill College.

In about 1960 Edwards started to study human fertilisation , and he continued his work at Cambridge, laying the groundwork for his later success. In 1968 he was able to achieve fertilisation of a human egg in the laboratory and started to collaborate with Patrick Steptoe, a gynecologic surgeon from Oldham. Edwards developed human culture media to allow the fertilisation and early embryo culture, while Steptoe utilized laparoscopy to recover ovocytes from patients with tubal infertility. Their attempts met significant hostility and opposition,including a refusal of the British government to fund their research and a number of lawsuits. Additional historical information on this controversial era in the development of IVF has been published.

The birth of Louise Brown, the world's first 'test-tube baby', at 11:47 pm on 25 July 1978 at the Oldham General Hospital made medical history: in vitro fertilisation meant a new way to help infertile couples who formerly had no possibility of having a baby.

Bourn Hall Clinic

Refinements in technology have increased pregnancy rates and it is estimated that in 2010 about 4 million children have been born by IVF, with approximately 170,000 coming from donated oocyte and embryos. Their breakthrough laid the groundwork for further innovations such as intracytoplasmatic sperm injection ICSI, embryo biopsy (PGD), and stem cell research.

Edwards and Steptoe founded the Bourn Hall Clinic as a place to advance their work and train new specialists. Steptoe died in 1988. Edwards continued a career as a scientist and an editor of medical journals.

  • In 1984, Edwards was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • In 1994, Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Valencia (Spain).
  • In 2001, he was awarded the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award by the Lasker Foundation "for the development of in vitro fertilization, a technological advance that has revolutionized the treatment of human infertility."
  • In 2007, he was ranked 26th in The Daily Telegraph's list of 100 greatest living geniuses.
  • In 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield.
  • On 4 October 2010, it was announced that Edwards had been awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the development of in-vitro fertilizationThe Nobel Committee praised him for advancing treatment of infertility and noted that IVF babies have similar health statuses to ordinary babies. Göran K. Hansson, secretary of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, announced the news. The first child of IVF Louise Brown described the award as "fantastic news".A Vatican official condemned the move as "completely out of order".
  • Edwards was knighted in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to human reproductive biology.


His wife is Ruth Fowler Edwards, the granddaughter of physicist Ernest Rutherford and daughter of physicist Ralph Fowler.

Name Edwards, Robert Geoffrey
Alternative names
Short description Physiologist
Date of birth 1925-09-27
Place of birth Manchester
Date of death
Place of death

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1255

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