National Public Radio has some context on the Nobel Prize for medicine awarded to in vitro fertilization pioneer Robert Edwards:
After decades of basic research, he and his partner ob-gyn Patrick Steptoe were able to fertilize human eggs retrieved through keyhole surgery, or laparoscopy, in petri dishes in the lab.
But in 1971, the pair were denied major research funding from the Medical Research Council of the U.K., the rough equivalent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
How come? Well, at the time there was a lot more funding interest in contraception than fertility treatment. And a recent paper in the journal Human Reproduction says there were shortcomings in the pair's research plan that fanned the doubts of some reviewers, fearful of birth defects, who wanted to see more work in primates before human treatments were tried.
The researchers were also seen as outsiders to the establishment, and the keepers of scientific tradition didn't cotton to Edwards' talking up the work in the mainstream media of the day.
Edwards and Steptoe, who died in 1988, carried on with private funding. And in 1978, Louis Joy Brown, the first test tube baby was born.
NPR doesn't spell out the connection, but it's something to think about for those who are all worked up over Judge Lamberth's decision to deny government funding for stem-cell research.