Ian Craft obituary

Gynaecologist and IVF pioneer whose methods often proved controversial

The early days of assisted reproduction were fraught with controversy, as media commentators and religious figures denigrated its practitioners for playing God or interfering with nature.

Louise Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), arrived in 1978. By 2018, eight million babies worldwide had been born using IVF or related techniques. The rapid acceptance of the concept was largely due to the pioneering work of gynaecologists such as Ian Craft, who, along with Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe (who treated Brown’s mother), gave infertile couples hope that they need not accept their childless state.

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