We were so sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Robert Edwards, who together with Dr Patrick Steptoe developed the process that led to the birth of the very first test tube baby, Louise Brown. 

Sir Robert Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2010. A spokesman for Cambridge University said on behalf of Sir Robert’s family: “It is with deep sadness that the family announces that Professor Sir Robert Edwards, Nobel prizewinner, scientist and co-pioneer of IVF, passed away peacefully in his sleep on 10th April 2013 after a long illness.

“He will be greatly missed by family, friends and colleagues. Please respect the family’s privacy at this sad time.”

Ms Brown said she thought of Sir Robert as a “grandfather”. She said: “It was really sad to hear the news today I have always regarded Robert Edwards as like a grandfather to me. His work, along with Patrick Steptoe, has brought happiness and joy to millions of people all over the world by enabling them to have children”.

“I am glad that he lived long enough to be recognised with a Nobel Prize for his work and his legacy will live on with all the IVF work being carried out throughout the world. The thoughts of myself and my sister Natalie, who was also born through IVF, are with his family at this sad time.”

Since Louise Brown was born at 11.47pm on July 25, 1978, the technique pioneered by Sir Robert and Dr Steptoe has brought the joy of parenthood to more than 4.3 million couples who thought they would never be able to have children.

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