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Emma B BS: Completely out of order? (22) BS: Completely out of order? 04 Oct 10

The Nobel Prize in medicine has gone to Robert (Bob) Edwards, a man whose work led to the first test tube baby, an achievement that helped bring 4 million infants into the world bringing 'joy to infertile people all over the world'.

Edwards and his research partner Patrick Steptoe, who died in 1988, faced opposition to their IVF experiments; some government officials thought it more important to limit fertility than treat infertility.

William Ledger, head of reproductive medicine at Sheffield University, said, "The only sadness is that Patrick Steptoe has not lived to see this day because it was always a joint team effort."

But the Nobel is not given posthumously.

It was not immediately clear why it took so long to honour such groundbreaking research. Initially, there was concern about the health of test-tube babies.
However, in Bristol, Brown, the first IVF success, is now 32.
In a statement issued by the Bourn Hall clinic, she said she and her mother are "so glad that one of the pioneers of IVF has been given the recognition he deserves. We hold Bob in great affection and are delighted to send our personal congratulations to him and his family at this time."

Louise gave birth in 2007 to a son who was conceived naturally.

The Nobel Committee said "In retrospect, it is amazing that Edwards not only was able to respond to the continued criticism of IVF, but that he also remained so persistent and unperturbed in fulfilling his scientific vision,"

Johanna Nannung, a Stockholm woman who has a personal reason to praise the award (her daughter, Olivia, was born after she and her husband underwent four years of IVF treatments) said

"It was incredible. Olivia is the most wonderful and fantastic thing that has ever happened to me. In my life I have always seen myself with a family and children. It's worth more than everything,"

A Vatican official, Mr Carrasco, has said the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Medicine to British IVF pioneer is "completely out of order" as the award ignored the ethical questions raised by the fertility treatment although he stressed that he was speaking in a personal capacity.

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