Most people have never heard of Robert G. Edwards, yet his contributions to the medical community have contributed to the birth of 4 million children. Earlier this month, Edwards received the Nobel Prize in medicine for development of in-vitro fertilization IVF). Over 30 years ago, Dr. Edwards successfully fertilized human eggs in test tubes, or actually Petri dishes. In 1978, Edwards helped John and Lesley Brown conceive a child and Louise Brown was born after a full-term pregnancy on July 25 of that year. Now, Brown is a 32-year-old mother of one; ironically, she conceived her son with no outside intervention.
With Dr. Edwards’ success, modern IVF treatment was born. Because infertility impacts an estimated one in six couples, this development gave hope to many people who might not otherwise conceive. After Louise Brown was born, Dr. Edwards and a partner established the Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge, creating the first medical center devoted to IVF treatment. Doctors and medical professionals from around the world visited this clinic to study IVF therapy.
Since this groundbreaking accomplishment, medical science has continued to refine Dr. Edwards’ efforts. Modern infertility treatments have expanded to include gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT), intra-uterine insemination (IUI), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Doctors can also now test embryos for certain genetic disorders, such as sickle cell and cystic fibrosis, increasing the odds that a couple with known risks will conceive and give birth to a healthy child.
To see how modern medical can help make your parenting dreams a reality and to find out more about current infertility treatment options, call our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Douglas.