Robert Edwards was born in Manchester in 1925. After World War II he studied at the Bangor University and then at Edinburgh University. In 1955 he was awarded a doctoral degree for the work on the development of embryos in mice.
In the early sixties Edwards moved to Cambridge to begin his researches in the field of extracorporeal fertilization of a human egg cell. In collaboration with Patrick Steptoe, a gynecologic surgeon, he founded the only IVF clinic at the time. His researches made it possible for Lesley Brown, to whom infertility caused by tube occlusion had been diagnosed, to have a daughter Louise (the first “test-tube” baby in the world) born on July 25, 1978.
In addition to fertilization in vitro Robert Edwards developed egg retrieval techniques and a number of other techniques which helped increase IVF efficiency. Edwards often participated in the discussion of moral and ethical issues related to the large application of extracorporeal fertilization which was criticized by many religious, social and political and even medical figures.
Robert Edwards was awarded the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award (2001) and Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine (2010).