The British Fertility Society (BFS) is very saddened to hear about the death of Professor Sir Robert Edwards CBE, FRS. Robert was one of the founding fathers of our profession and worked tirelessly for many years, initially amid great opposition from some public and professional figures, to develop much of the science that still underpins the process of today’s IVF. He had a major role in the founding of the BFS and was the second President of the society between 1988 and 1992, taking over that role from Patrick Steptoe with whom he worked very closely for so many years. In addition, he was one of only 25 people to have been given an Honorary Fellowship of the BFS, as well as being the very first eponymous lecturer to give the Patrick Steptoe Memorial Prize Lecture in 1991.

On hearing today’s news BFS Chairman Dr Allan Pacey said:

This is a very sad day indeed and our thoughts are with Bob’s family and friends as well as our many colleagues who worked with him over the years. He was a giant in our profession and many people, public and professionals alike, owe him a great deal. His work transformed our view of infertility from something that must be endured to a potentially-treatable medical condition. He will be greatly missed and his contribution to humankind is un-measurable.”

Ultimately Bob’s work was recognised internationally and he received an Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award in 2001. But the chief accolades for many BFS members were the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2010 and a Knighthood in 2011. It is heartening to know that he received due acclaim for his work during his lifetime. The BFS considers his legacy to match that of Darwin, Curie and Einstein for their respective fields, and hopes his memory will live on for many years to come.”

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Notes for editors:

The British Fertility Society is a national multidisciplinary organisation representing professionals practising in the field of reproductive medicine.