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Developer of In Vitro Fertilization Awarded Nobel Prize

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Robert G. Edwards, a professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his work developing in vitro fertilization.

Edwards was born in Manchester, England in 1925, and studied at the University of Wales and Edinburgh University, according to the Nobel Prize committee. The Associated Press reports that Edwards, 85, began experimenting in the 1950s, eventually teaming up with gynecologist and surgeon Patrick Steptoe, who helped him develop the procedure and eventually found the first IVF clinic in Cambridge, England.

As the Nobel Prize committee explains, it took many years of problem-solving before the first baby was born using the procedure. Edwards spent the better part of two decades figuring out how to safely perform IVF, and often had to continue his work amidst strong criticism of the project.

In 1978, Louise Brown became the first baby born through IVF and, since then, roughly four million children have been born through the procedure, according to the committee.