|Born||Albert William Liley
12 March 1929
Auckland, New Zealand
|Died||15 June 1983
Auckland, New Zealand
Cause of death
Education and career
Liley graduated from Otago Medical School at the University of Otago in Dunedin, in 1954. After a period at Australian National University in Canberra, he returned to Auckland where he worked for the rest of his life except for a brief period at Columbia University. While in Auckland he held a number of posts, including at Auckland University, National Women's Hospital and the Medical Research Council of New Zealand (now the Health Research Council of New Zealand).
In 1963, after three unsuccessful attempts, Liley successfully carried out the first ever successful intrauterine blood transfusion. The fetus had Rh disease/hemolytic disease and had been expected to die before birth. The highly publicised procedure was a milestone in not only medical treatment but also public perception. Initially the procedure had a success rate of only about 40%, but this rose over time.
Liley was awarded fellowships with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and was appointed to the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, although he was an atheist. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. In the Queen's Birthday Honours 1973 Liley was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) for distinguished service to medicine.
Liley met his future wife Helen Margaret Irwin Hunt (known as Margaret) as a classmate in medical school; they married in 1953. They had five biological children and an adopted child with Down syndrome.
Liley was one of the founders of the New Zealand anti-abortion group, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (now Voice for Life), in 1971 and served as that organisation's first president. In 1977, Robert Sassone edited a series of interviews with Liley and Jérôme Lejeune, entitled The Tiniest Humans.
Liley committed suicide in 1983.
- 2011 Chris Pemberton, University of Otago,
- 2010 Stephen Robertson (doctor) University of Otago
- 2009 Allan Herbison, University of Otago
- 2008 Edward Baker (doctor), University of Auckland and Philippa Howden-Chapman, University of Otago
- 2007 Innes Asher, University of Auckland
- 2006 Lianne Woodward, University of Canterbury
- 2005 Richard Faull, University of Auckland
- 2004 Richie Poulton, University of Otago
- Obituary at the Wayback Machine (archived July 9, 2008) by Sir John Scott for the RSNZ from Yearbook of the Royal Society of New Zealand: 1997:2:34-41.
- Obitrary from the HRC
- Professor Sir William Liley (1929–83): New Zealand perinatal physiologist doi:10.1258/j.jmb.2005.03-41 J Med Biogr May 2005 vol. 13 no. 2 82-88
- Kathleen O'Connor, "Albert William Liley (1929–1983)", Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2011) ISSN: 1940-5030.
- The London Gazette: . 22 May 1973.
- "The Embryo Project Encyclopedia". embryo.asu.edu. 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012. "obstetrician and pediatrician"
- Robert Sassone (ed): The Tiniest Humans: Interviews with Sir William Alfred Liley and Professor Jérôme Lejeune: Stafford, Virginia 1977, American Life League. An online excerpt was released on 5 October 2005.
- "Medals | Health Research Council". hrc.govt.nz. 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012. "The Liley medal recognises an individual whose recent research has made an outstanding contribution to the health and medical sciences. The medal is named after Sir William (Bill) Liley KCMG, BMedSc, MB, ChB, PhD (ANU), Hon. DSc (VUW), Dip Obs, FRSNZ, FRCOG, Hon. FACOG, to recognise his lifetime contributions to health and medical sciences"
- "Liley Medal holds the key to fertility". scoop.co.nz. 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Super scientists share the Liley Medal honours". scoop.co.nz. 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Childhood asthma researcher wins Liley Medal". scoop.co.nz. 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Human brain research wins Liley Medal". scoop.co.nz. 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2012.