Sir Robert Edwards, IVF pioneer

Bertarelli Foundation - Sir Robert Edwards

The Trustees of the Bertarelli Foundation were deeply saddened to learn that Nobel winner Sir Robert Edwards had passed away, as announced by Cambridge University.

The invitro-fertilisation procedures Sir Robert pioneered with Dr Patrick Steptoe changed the lives of many women and created new families across the world. The method they developed leads to optimal results when applied following controlled ovarian stimulation with human gonadotrophins. This was achieved with the drug Pergonal which was already used for ovarian follicular stimulation in infertile women. It was developed by Serono, the global biotechnology business built by three generations of the Bertarelli family.

Sir Robert received a Bertarelli Foundation Award in Reproductive Healthcare in 2000 and also advised the Foundation on its successful work to ensure effective monitoring and regulation of multiple embryo transfer with assisted reproductive techniques.

Approximately one out of every eight couples experiences difficulty conceiving. But until the middle of the last century, many of the causes of infertility were not fully understood, and there was little that could be done for women unable to become pregnant. This has changed with the development of Human Menopausal Gonadotrophins and was significantly further enhanced and expanded by the work of Sir Robert Edwards, which culminated in the world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. The outlook for infertile couples has changed forever, and the Bertarelli family are proud to have been a part of his important development.