87 and “out”

RobertEdwards_1731330cThis week brought the death of two amazing pioneers at the grand old age of 87 years.

Both Margaret Thatcher and Professor Edwards have left  legacies which they and their families will have been be very proud of, and whatever your personal feelings about their achievements and motivation, they deserve respect.

Margaret Thatcher’s death has somewhat overshadowed that of Professor Edwards, but in our family it is Robert Edwards who is the hero of astronomic proportions. Without his work into infertility and IVF carried out alongside his medical partner Professor Steptoe, our family would be two members light and I know that my sister will be eternally grateful that she was given the opportunity to be treated in their clinic at Bourn Hall near Cambridge.

The twins are now almost 28 years old and were born a mere 6 years after Louise Brown, the first “test-tube” baby. They were and always have been a joy and a great credit not only to their parents of course, but also to medical science. There are a number of people who are convinced that intervention in fertility is “wrong” and they are entitled to their opinion.

From my perspective, it can’t possibly be wrong when you see the happiness and sheer joy that these children bring to their families. No children can be wanted or loved more and to go through the rigours of IVF takes dedication, determination and guts.

Three years ago, Professor Edwards was awarded with the Nobel prize for medicine.

At the time, Mike Macnamee, chief executive of Bourn Hall, near Cambridge, the IVF clinic which Prof Edwards founded, said: ”Bob Edwards is one of our greatest scientists. His inspirational work in the early ’60s led to a breakthrough that has enhanced the lives of millions of people worldwide.

”Bob Edwards is held in great affection by everyone that has worked with him and was treated by him. I am really pleased that my great mentor, colleague and friend has been recognised in this way.”

Prof Edwards has previously said:

”The most important thing in life is having a child. Nothing is more special than a child.”

What a legacy.

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