The results of research by English scientists Patrick Steptoe, Robert Edwards and Jean Purdy have led to the goal that now all around the world more than six million children were born via the method of extracorporeal fertilization (IVF).

The other day in Whitney, Oxfordshire, by the efforts of UK Royal Society of Biology, another one out of ten planned throughout England, a memorial plaque was installed on the wall of the house in which Patrick Steptoe, one of the developers of IVF, was born and grew.

Enthusiastic fellow researchers developed IVF at a laboratory in Royton, Oldham, and then set up the Bourn Hall fertility clinic in Cambridgeshire. Shortly, the chronology of events is as follows:

  • Steptoe, Edwards and Purdy worked together in the 1960s with gynaecologist Steptoe harvesting the eggs of female volunteers
  • Reproductive biologist Edwards and his assistant Purdy developed a technique for fertilising eggs in the laboratory
  • By retrieving eggs at the right time and fertilising them in the laboratory they believed they could implant them in the uterus
  • They began transferring fertilised eggs to the womb in 1971, but it took more than 80 embryo transfers before Lesley Brown gave birth to Louise Brown on 25 July 1978

 The birth of Louise Brown on July 25, 1978 in Oldham, Greater Manchester, marked the beginning of their success. Since then, over six million children have been born worldwide with IVF.

At the opening ceremony of the memorial, Ms. Louise Brown said that Steptoe, who died in 1988, was “like a grandfather” to her. She recalled: “My mother, Lesley Brown, always said that she trusted him from the first moment that she met him. Patrick Steptoe died when I was 10 years old so I did not know him well. We last met when we were guests on a TV programme together and he was proud of the children he had helped bring into the world. His legacy will live on as there are now millions of people worldwide who owe their existence to the work of the IVF pioneers.”

The first, from a whole series, a memorial plaque commemorating the memory of these outstanding devotees, was installed in 2015 on the building of their former experimental laboratory in Oldham.

Image: gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe (left), embryologist Jean Purdy and physiologist Sir Robert Edwards at the birth of Louise Brown


Photo: PA
Based on BBC News

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