STOCKHOLM, Sweden Robert Edwards of Britain won the 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for developing in vitro fertilization, a breakthrough that has helped millions of infertile couples have children.
Edwards, an 85-year-old professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge, started working on the technique as early as the 1950s. He developed the technique — in which eggs are removed from a woman, fertilized outside her body and then implanted into the womb — together with British gynecologist surgeon Patrick Steptoe, who died in 1988.
On July 25, 1978, Louise Brown in Britain became the first baby born through the groundbreaking procedure.
Since then, some 4 million people have been born using the technique, the Nobel medicine prize committee said.
“His 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 committee in Stockholm said in its citation. “Today, Robert Edwards’ vision is a reality and brings joy to infertile people all over the world.”
The medicine award was the first of the 2010 Nobel Prizes to be announced. It will be followed by physics on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday, literature on Thursday, the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and economics on Monday Oct. 11.
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