Pioneer of IVF treatment awarded Nobel Prize

test tubes

Robert Edwards was given the Nobel Prize. He helped invent I.V.F., or "test tube babies." Image from Wikimedia Commons.

One of earliest pioneers of in vitro fertilization treatments (I.V.F.) has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Dr. Robert Edwards was a member of the team that implanted the first embryo carried to term using I.V.F. fertility treatments. His prize comes with controversy, as the Vatican has condemned the use of I.V.F. treatments. The fertility treatment has expanded over the years.

Robert Edwards awarded Nobel Prize

The winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Medicine was announced as Dr. Robert Edwards, according to CNN. He was instrumental in developing a fertility treatment called in vitro fertilization or I.V.F. In vitro, literally “in glass,” is where an embryo is extracted and fertilized with sperm outside the womb. The embryo is then implanted into the womb, then pregnancy begins. Dr. Edwards worked on the protocol for over 20 years, and was part of the team that carried out the first successful I.V.F. pregnancy. Louise Brown was the first baby carried to term thanks to the treatment. Edwards attended Brown’s wedding, who herself had a son through natural means. Almost 4 million people owe their existence to Dr. Edwards.

Vatican official condemns Prize

A Vatican official has released a statement condemning the Prize being awarded to Edwards, according to the BBC. The statement calls to question the ethical concerns raised by I.V.F. treatments. The statement asserts that as a result of the treatment’s development, viable embryos are never used to create life, but instead end up on ice. The object is also raised that the market for human embryos would not exist had Dr. Edwards not engaged in his research.

10 percent of pregnancies through I.V.F.

Up to 10 percent of all pregnancies worldwide are accomplished via I.V.F. treatments. The treatment is a wildly popular option for couples who are having problems conceiving. Various objections have been raised over the years about certain aspects of the treatment and the ethical questions that are raised.

Sources

BBC News

CNN

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