FAIRFAX, Va., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Few people alive today can recount the extraordinary struggles that Drs. Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards, the 2010 Nobel Prize winner for Medicine or Physiology, confronted when they defied much of the medical establishment to create in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the 1970s. Now, Dr. Joseph D. Schulman, the only American scientist who worked with Edwards and Steptoe in Britain on the development of IVF, has written a new book, "Robert G. Edwards: A Personal Viewpoint," to share his experiences. Dr. Steptoe is dead and, tragically, Dr. Edwards was too ill to attend the December 10, 2010 Nobel awards ceremony. Dr. Schulman believes the award was unjustifiably delayed for over twenty years because of Dr. Edwards' unflagging advocacy of reproductive freedom and advances in reproductive medicine.
In describing the early opposition Dr. Edwards faced while working on IVF, Dr. Schulman writes, "Bob had been repeatedly attacked by the sensationalist British press....Colleagues at Cambridge, including the Nobel Laureate Max Perutz, had spoken angrily to Bob about the dangers of what he was trying to do....His research funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC), the British equivalent of the NIH, was threatened....Some of his own graduate students were opposed to what he was attempting, and were intimidated from participation by negative opinions from more senior scientists."
Drs. Edwards and Steptoe proved that the new in vitro fertilization technology could work when the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born on July 25, 1978, but the controversy associated with IVF became even more widespread as newspapers trumpeted the birth of the first "test tube baby." Potential parents around the world embraced the technology that could give them children, however, and millions of IVF babies have been born. The creation of IVF also led to other medical advances that have helped millions of patients.
"Robert G. Edwards: A Personal Viewpoint" is available from Amazon.com for $9.95 per copy.
After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Joseph D. Schulman trained first as a pediatrician and later completed a genetics fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1968 to 1970. While at NIH, he decided to specialize in the fields of human genetics and reproduction, and subsequently was fully trained in obstetrics and gynecology at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Following his work with Drs. Edwards and Steptoe, Dr. Schulman was the first director of the Medical Genetics Program at NIH, where he was a research scientist and served on the faculty for ten years. In 1984, Dr. Schulman founded Genetics & IVF Institute (GIVF), headquartered in Fairfax, VA, to provide cutting edge infertility and genetic diagnosis and treatment. GIVF is responsible for more than 20,000 pregnancies around the world. Now retired from active practice, Dr. Schulman continues to serve as Chairman of GIVF's Board of Directors.
SOURCE Genetics & IVF Institute