The great trailblazer in the world of In vitro fertilisation (IVF), Sir Robert Edwards has sadly passed away, on 10th April 2013.
Edwards, has helped to bring joy to many families across the world, by developing the technique of IVF which has helped to create over 4 million "test-tube" babies. Edwards along with Patrick Steptoe devised the technique of fertilising an egg with a sperm outside of the body.
The process itself involves monitoring a woman's (the mother's) ovulation patterns and then removing multiple eggs from her ovaries. Sperm is then collected from the father, and both the sperm and egg are placed into a fluid in the laboratory. This then allows the sperm to fertilise the egg (or eggs). The woman's menstrual cycle is then monitored and the fertilised egg is inserted into the woman's uterus where it will later hopefully develop into a successful pregnancy.
8 years after the development of the technique, Louise Brown was born in 1978, becoming the world's first test tube baby.
Edwards was awarded the Noble Prize in 2010 for his work in the development in IVF and then the following year he was awarded a knighthood for his services to human reproductive biology.