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MRC did not fund IVF pioneers’ research because they weren’t in “medical establishment”

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4045 (Published 27 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4045
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    The researchers whose work led to the birth of the world’s first baby conceived as a result of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in 1978 were refused funding from the UK Medical Research Council because they worked outside established centres and because the priority at the time was on limiting fertility rather than treating infertility, a detailed review of archive material shows.

    Medical Research Council (MRC) reviewers were also concerned about the safety of embryo transfer and disapproved of the researchers’ high profile in the media. They also did not welcome efforts by the researchers to promote public discussion of the science and ethics of treating infertility, the documents show, which also highlight how prevailing attitudes and personal factors can influence decisions affecting the direction that scientific research is encouraged to take (Human Reproduction doi:10.1093/humrep/deq155).

    Martin Johnson, professor of reproductive sciences at the University of Cambridge, and colleagues were working on a study looking at …

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