Notice from the University of Cambridge on behalf of the family of Professor Sir Robert Edwards MA, Hon ScD, CBE, FRS

“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.”

A Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, Robert Edwards worked for many years in the University Department of Physiology. Just over thirty-five years ago he became famous for the development, with Dr Patrick Steptoe, of the technique of in vitro fertilization, which resulted in the birth of Louise Brown, and more than four million babies since that time.

His work has had an immense impact throughout the world.

The developments for which Edwards and Steptoe were responsible attracted much publicity, some of it, not least from the Vatican, highly critical.

Formal recognition therefore came late, but when it did come, it was decisive, with the award of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2010 'for the development of in vitro fertilization.' See

In 2011, Robert was knighted 'for services to human reproductive biology'.

Professor Martin Johnson, Emeritus Professor of Reproductive Science, University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Christ’s College was, together with Sir Richard Gardner, Bob Edwards’ first Graduate student between 1966 and 1969. He said: “Bob Edwards was a remarkable man who changed the lives of so many people. He was not only a visionary in his science but also in his communication to the wider public about matters scientific in which he was a great pioneer.

“He will be greatly missed by his colleagues, students, his family and all the many people he has helped to have children.”

Mike Macnamee, Chief Executive of Bourn Hall, the IVF clinic that Steptoe and Edwards co-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. He is held in great affection by everyone who has worked with him and was treated by him.

"For me personally Bob was a great mentor, colleague and friend.  It was a privilege to work with him and his passing is a great loss to us all."

Robert Geoffrey Edwards was born on the 27th September 1925 and died on 10th April 2013 after a long illness.

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