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Observations BMJ Confidential

Alison Murdoch: Planting trees for posterity

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 08 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6052


Alison Murdoch, professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Newcastle, runs the fertility centre at the International Centre for Life. Her research includes pronuclear transfer in human embryos to better understand the earliest stages of human development, under a licence issued by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. But this hasn’t stopped her criticising the organisation, which she accuses of self-aggrandisement, over-emphasising risks, and—by implying that they pose special moral and ethical dilemmas—forcing IVF treatments out of the NHS and into the private sector.

What was your earliest ambition?

“To be a mother” was my first memory of a response to that question. My father was a doctor. He died when I was young, but I always thought that I would be a doctor too.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Perversely, I was more influenced by seeing others do things badly and wanting to do better. Of the many I greatly admire, I choose Professor Dame Anne McLaren, who was based at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge when she died, as I would like to be …

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