Professor Robert Edwards Receives Nobel Prize for Medicine

Comment from Dr Gillian Lockwood, Medical Director of Midland Fertility Services

“I was delighted that finally Professor Edwards has had the recognition he deserves; it is long overdue and we send him many congratulations.

“Edwards and his friend and collaborator Patrick Steptoe had to overcome resistance from the medical and scientific establishment and religious authorities, but today, their pioneering work with IVF has transformed the lives of the one in eight couples with significant fertility problems.

“Nearly 4 million people in the world owe their existence to Edwards and Steptoe and more than 1% of all babies born in the UK today are ‘test-tube’ babies.

“Edwards and Steptoe’s original IVF technique was designed to overcome female fertility problems such as blocked Fallopian tubes but the procedure is constantly being advanced.  The introduction of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has allowed problems of severe male factor infertility to be treated and the big challenge for fertility treatment now, is to maintain good pregnancy rates whilst avoiding multiple pregnancies. Cryopreservation techniques such as vitrification and better embryo selection using genetic analysis are the way forward.

“And whatever developments the future brings, the work of Edwards and Steptoe will forever have a positive impact on the lives of millions of people throughout the world.”

ends

Issue Date: 4 October 2010

Editor Notes

MFS was established in 1987 and is licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to offer a range of fertility treatments and procedures including IVF, ICSI, egg donation, egg and embryo freezing and sperm recovery.  In May 2002 the UK’s first ‘frozen egg’ baby was born following treatment at MFS.  In September 2005, the UK’s first twins were born from ‘frozen eggs’ fertility treatment at MFS, followed by the first ‘frozen egg’ boy in December 2005.  In April 2006 the clinic’s first twins were born following the mother’s treatment with Vi4gr4 as part of her fertility treatment at MFS.  In early 2008, the 4,000th baby was born after treatment at MFS and the clinic celebrated its 21st anniversary in June 2008.  The 4,500th baby was born in August 2009 and in June 2010 the first twins were born from vitrified blastocysts.  Based in Aldridge, West Midlands, MFS treats both private and NHS patients. 

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