For infertile couples wanting to have a child and not being able to, no one is more deserving of the Nobel Peace prize than British biologist Robert Edward. He, along with colleague Patrick Steptoe, developed the technique for in-vitro fertizilation (IVF), which led to the first birth of its kind on July 25, 1978. More than 10 percent of couples worldwide are infertile.
"His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition affecting a large proportion of humanity," the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden said in announcing the $1.5 million prize. "Today, IVF is an established therapy throughout the world."
IVF is a technique to remove an egg from a woman's ovaries, fertilize it with a man's sperm in the laboratory and place the fertilized egg back into the woman's womb to develop naturally. It is used to treat a host of fertility problems, including cases in which a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked, preventing the egg from being fertilized normally. Edward was in too poor of health to make a statement about his award. Steptoe would also have been given the award, but he died in 1988 and the prizes can not be awarded posthumously.