Robert Geoffrey Edwards and Patrick Christopher Steptoe's Clinical Research in Human in vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer, 1969-1980
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The biomedical accomplishment of human in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) took years to become the successful technique that presently enables infertile couples to have their own children. In 1969, more than ten years after the first attempts to treat infertilities with IVF technologies, the British developmental biologist Robert Geoffrey Edwards fertilized human oocytes in a Petri dish for the first time. In 1970, Edwards and his research partner, gynecologist and surgeon Patrick Christopher Steptoe, started working with human patients with complicated and individualized gynecological conditions. It took Edwards and Steptoe another eight years of modifying medical procedures, as well as dealing with the ups and downs of funding situations and public opinions, before they could celebrate birth of the first baby conceived through IVF-ET in 1978.