The first ‘test-tube’ baby turns 40 this month, but the impact of in vitro fertilisation extends far beyond solutions to fertility problems
It sounds rather perverse and archaic today to call a child born by IVF a “test-tube baby”. The technique of assisted reproduction has become so widespread and normalised, more than 6 million babies down the road, that there’s nothing so remarkable or stigmatising in having been conceived in a petri dish (“in vitro”means in glass, although test tubes were never involved). In many countries worldwide, 3-6% of all children are now conceived this way.
Related: The infertility crisis is beyond doubt. Now scientists must find the cause
Related: DNA editing in human embryos reveals role of fertility ‘master gene’