It’s not every Nobel prize winner who can claim to have had such a direct and life-or-no-life influence on so many people. But Dr. Robert Edwards can. The British biologist who pioneered in-vitro fertilization has been named the winner of the 2010 Nobel prize for medicine and physiology.
Not only is he celebrating but 4 million babies conceived through IVF and their families are, too.
Louise Brown, the world’s first so-called “test tube baby” and her parents, Lesley and John Brown, have sent along their congratulations to Dr. Edwards, a man who changed (if not made) their lives. In a statement, the 32-year-old Louise said that her parents are happy that Dr. Edwards has received the recognition that he deserves.
If you’re old enough, you remember Louise Brown’s name and exactly what made her notorious. You might even remember feeling a little freaky about the whole business of making babies in a lab. The way Louise Brown was talked about — “test tube baby” — I can remember imagining that she gestated in one of those science-y beaker thinks that I saw in cartoons. And she was hardly welcomed with the coos and celebrations millions of other babies conceived through IVF have been over the years.
But she was the first, and that was scary back then.
People continued to use the term “test-tube” baby for a really long time. It seems it wasn’t until the 90s that the term “in-vitro” and IVF fully replaced the inaccurate and freaky sounding test-tube descriptor.
After Louise Brown’s birth, the whole procedure came to light and it was relatively controversial. People worried about all the implications — things will spiral out of control! human cloning! Considering Octomom Nadya Suleman and some advancements in animal cloning, it’s true that case could be made. But what Dr. Edwards quietly did was make millions of happy couples and lots and lots of babies.
Sure, we still have the ethics, cost and long-term effects of in-vitro to really hash out and understand. Not every IVF procedure ended in conception or full-term pregnancy or a big fat baby. But for millions of couples it was worth a shot. In the meantime, Louise Brown, now 32, conceived her son the old-fashioned way and gave birth in 2007 — the effect of Dr. Edwards work continues.
Most of us know children conceived through IVF. Their families are likely celebrating today’s Nobel prize news.
Why Groupon is Trying to Get You Pregnant
Girls in Sports Will Rule the Boardroom
Check Your Child’s Backpack for Valuable Savings. Ugh.
Act Like a Lady: Good Advice or Totally Sexist?
Tired Moms Won’t Vote This Year
Getting Pregnant at 50: What sas She Thinking?
Why Can’t This Mom Control Her Child’s Fits?
Why Does Everyone Have a Tutor These Days?
Is Your Pre-Tween’s Dentist Pushing Braces?
Could You Handle Postpartum Confinement?
Is Sookie Stackhouse a Good Fit for Sesame Street?
Really Nana? You Can’t Spell the Baby’s Name?
5 Lessons for Your Future Bill Gates
Katy Perry Sesame Street Appearance: Why the Outrage?
A List of Similac Recall Lot Numbers So Far
How Much is too Much Drinking During Pregnancy