Robert Edwards of Britain won the 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for the development of in-vitro fertilization, a breakthrough that has helped millions of infertile couples to have children.

“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 medicine prize committee in Stockholm said in its citation.

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Comments

  1. #1 Paul Browne
    October 4, 2010

    It’s a well earned Nobel prize, IVF is a treatment that has brought joy to millions of parents around the world.

    My onlyn regret is that other scientists whose work made such a crucial contribution to the development of IVF, particularly Patrick Steptoe, Min Chueh Chang, and Gregory Pincus, died before they could share in this award.

    This does not however diminish Bob Edwards’ achievement, he palyed a decisive role in making IVF possible.

    Well done Professor Edwards!

  2. #2 Pierce R. Butler
    October 4, 2010

    I can’t wait to hear the Vatican’s “pro-life” reaction…

  3. #3 Jim Thomerson
    October 4, 2010
  4. #4 Ana
    October 4, 2010

    I could never understand the whole piercing of the egg with a needle full of sperm thing. Why not just let the little guys swim around in the dish and let them use their enzymes for entry like in real life? Isn’t that an important process?

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    October 4, 2010

    Ana: I’m not sure, but the sperm do not really find and penetrate the egg as much as the egg directs the sperm to where it wants it then picks which sperm to let in. So perhaps the in vitro ovum is not doing that for some reason.

  6. #6 Ana
    October 4, 2010

    Yes, of course – female choice. ;) But my question remains… I’ll try to find an answer and report back.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    October 4, 2010

    Apparently, sometimes the sperm often does get it’s heat attached to the ovum correctly, but not always. Then ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is tried.

    I’m still answering your question like an anthropologist … first I problematize the context, while implying that it may be the fault of the patriarchy. Then, I explain that the question is not always valid.

    But still, yes, they do this, and I don’t know why they have to.

    It is the case that some infertility is caused by the sperm not being able to head-up to the ovum in vivo, thus the problem would persist in vitro. (Still, not answering the questions).

    The reason that the sperm can’t do their thing if often because of a developmental thing with the sperm so their heads are the wrong shape. The causes are mysterious.

  8. #8 twitterholic
    October 5, 2010

    Thanks for bloging about this. Robert Edwards is really such an important figure in Medicine, and what he did revolutionized and changed the way we looked at science. Something else that you might find interesting in return is this video I saw on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNFuqwOKc2.

  9. #9 twitterholic
    October 5, 2010

    Thanks for bloging about this. Robert Edwards is really such an important figure in Medicine, and what he did revolutionized and changed the way we looked at science. Something else that you might find interesting in return is this video I saw on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNFuqwOKc2.

  10. #10 Ana
    October 6, 2010

    Thanks. Maybe my question is most valid with regard to investment opportunities. At least until gene therapy comes online.