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Statement on Professor Sir Robert Edwards

News 11 April 2013

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is saddened to hear of the death of Professor Sir Robert Edwards.

Together with his colleague Dr Patrick Steptoe, Professor Sir Robert Edwards pioneered in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) which led to the first successful pregnancy and birth of Ms Louise Brown in 1978.

Professor Sir Robert Edwards was made Fellow ad eundem of the College in 1985 and for his outstanding achievement in the practice and/or research in obstetrics and gynaecology, received the Sir Eardley Holland Gold Medal in 2005. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2011.

Dr Tony Falconer RCOG President said,

“When Edwards and Steptoe started their work in the 60s, it was unthinkable for man to create life outside of the womb. Their work pushed the boundaries of science and gave hope to childless couples. They changed the lives of millions worldwide and today, assisted reproductive technology (ART) is the widely used to treat infertility.

“At a time of funding cuts to the sciences in the UK and with many of our top academics and doctors heading abroad to advance their careers, Professor Edwards’ immense contribution to the biological sciences reminds us that we have so much to offer. We need to find ways to cultivate and nurture our talent so that the sciences can thrive.”

A eulogy to Professor Sir Robert Edwards was read by Melanie Davies, Fellow of London, at the Council meeting in June 2013. To view this tribute, please click here.