Renata Laxova was born on July 15, 1931 in Brno, Czechoslovakia. She survived the Holocaust as a child who was included in Sir Nicholas Winton’s Kindertransport, spending the war in England. She returned to Czechoslovakia after the war, received a medical degree and training as a pediatrician there. After the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, she escaped a second time to England, where she worked with Lionel Penrose at the ‘Kennedy-Galton Centre for Medical and Community Genetics’ in London researching mental disabilities. She was then appointed to the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she worked in its research center for human developmental disabilities, focusing on prenatal diagnosis and genetics counseling.