Robert Edwards of England won the 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for developing in-vitro fertilization, the medical breakthrough that has helped millions of infertile couples have children.
Now 85 years old and a professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge, Edwards starting working on in-vitro fertilization (IVF) as early as the 1950s. Together with gynecologist surgeon Patrick Steptoe, who passed away in 1988, he developed the method in which egg cells are fertilized outside the body and then implanted in the mother's womb.
Louise Brown was the first baby born through IVF in 1978, and the technique has created a revolution in fertility treatment since then.
"(Edwards') achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity, including more than 10 percent of all couples worldwide," the medicine prize committee in Stockholm commented in its citation.
"Approximately 4 million individuals have been born thanks to IVF," the citation said. The success rate of IVF today is 1 in 5, about the same chance healthy couples have of conceiving naturally. The committee rejoiced that "today, Robert Edwards' vision is a reality and brings joy to infertile people all over the world."