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Patrick Steptoe

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Fields  ObstetricsGynaecology
Name  Patrick Steptoe
Known for  In vitro fertilisation

Patrick Steptoe Obituary Robert Edwards testtube baby pioneer BBC News

Born  Patrick Christopher Steptoe9 June 1913Oxford, England (1913-06-09)
Institutions  Oldham General HospitalBourn Hall Clinic
Alma mater  King's College LondonSt George's Hospital Medical School
Died  March 21, 1988, Canterbury, United Kingdom
Education  King's College London, St George's, University of London, University of London
Notable awards  Order of the British Empire, Royal Society

Patrick Christopher Steptoe CBE FRS (9 June 1913, Oxford, England – 21 March 1988, Canterbury) was a British obstetrician and gynaecologist and a pioneer of fertility treatment. Steptoe was responsible with biologist and physiologist Robert Edwards for developing in vitro fertilization. Louise Joy Brown, the first test-tube baby, was born on 25 July 1978. Edwards was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the development of in vitro fertilization, however because the Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumously, Steptoe was not eligible for consideration.


Patrick Steptoe Sir Robert Geoffrey Edwards 39invented the first test tube


Patrick Steptoe IVF Video Podcast Patrick Steptoe FRCS FRCOG quotTest

Steptoe was educated at The Grammar School, Witney (since 1968 the comprehensive Henry Box School) in Oxfordshire. He went to King's College London and graduated from St George's Hospital Medical School, London in 1939.

Laparoscopy pioneer

Patrick Steptoe httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaen777Pat

After the Second World War, he studied obstetrics and, in 1951 he started to work at the Oldham General Hospital. From Raoul Palmer he learned the technique of laparoscopy and promoted its usefulness. In 1967 he published a book on Laparoscopy in Gynaecology. Subsequently, Robert Edwards, a physiologist from the University of Cambridge, contacted him and got him interested to collaborate in the development of in vitro fertilization.

Work with Edwards

Patrick Steptoe Patrick Steptoe Speaking of Research

Steptoe became the Director of the Centre for Human Reproduction, Oldham in 1969. Using laparoscopy, he collected the ova from volunteering infertile women who saw his place as their last hope to achieve a pregnancy. Edwards and his assistant Jean Purdy provided the laboratory expertise. During this time they had to endure criticism and hostility to their work. Finally, in 1978, the birth of Louise Brown changed everything. Although he encountered further criticism, other clinics were able to follow the lead and patients responded. To accommodate the increased patient number and train specialists, he and Edwards founded the Bourn Hall Clinic, Cambridgeshire in 1980 of which he was a Medical Director until his death.

Awards and honours

Steptoe was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in March 1987 His nomination reads:

Patrick Steptoe BioEdge Does the development of IVF have a murky past

A plaque was unveiled at the Bourn Hall Clinic in July 2013 by Louise Brown and Alastair MacDonald - the world's first IVF baby boy - commemorating Steptoe and Edwards. Steptoe is also commemorated with a plaque at the Maternity Ward at the Royal Oldham Hospital.

Patrick Steptoe Made up in Britain IVF Steptoe Edwards and Purdy 1977

Steptoe is buried in Bourn churchyard.


Patrick Steptoe Wikipedia