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George F Winter

Freelance writer; Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Science

Reproductive tourism

Although travelling abroad for the sake of one's health is centuries old—Lourdes, for instance, or ‘taking the waters’ in spas—the concept of so-called ‘medical tourism’ has increased in popularity in...

Breastfeeding: Ethics and evidence

In 1959, the chemist and novelist Charles Percy Snow delivered the Rede Lecture at the University of Cambridge Entitled ‘The Two Cultures’, he highlighted mutual incomprehension between science and...

Donor milk: Science and sensitivity

American humourist Oliver Herford once described charity as ‘the sterilised milk of human kindness’ Yet for more than a century the milk of human kindness has—quite literally—been used for charitable...

Parenthood: Uncharted territory?

It may have taken millions of years for humans to evolve, but when it comes to attitudes, evolution can be rapid

Vaccines and the fetus

The vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which previously banned abortion, righted a long-standing wrong The vote also vindicated the principles of autonomy and justice,...

Artificial gametes

First coined by the French philosopher Antoine Cournot, ‘the end of history’ is a phrase that was later popularised in the 1990s by the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama

Handwashing and psychology

The acronym KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) is attributed to the American aeronautical engineer Kelly Johnson


Describing her reaction to a film on childbirth that was shown at her school, Dame Helen Mirren once commented: ‘I swear it traumatised me to this day I haven't had children and now I can't look at...

Prenatal surgery

The first report of a prenatal intervention was made in 1963, when a life-saving intrauterine blood transfusion was undertaken on a fetus with severe haemolytic disease at 32 weeks gestation (Liley,...

Tattoos, piercings and pregnancy

According to Laux et al (2016: 395), ‘many individuals receive their first tattoo at age 16–20 years […] with up to 36% of people younger than 40 years having at least one tattoo’ Midwives often care...

Pre-surgery pregnancy status

In 2010, a national newspaper reported that the National Patient Safety Agency database recorded three women who lost their babies following surgery, saying that,

Tranexamic acid

Germaine Greer wrote that ‘[c]hildbirth has been transformed from an awesome personal and social event into a medical phenomenon’ (Greer, 1984: 19) But given that around 830 women die every day from...

The future of artificial wombs

In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932), ectogenesis—growing embryos in artificial environments—thrives at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre Here, ‘standardised’ individuals are...

Cord blood donation

In the late 1970s, while working in a hospital virus lab, I once took receipt of a donated human placenta and umbilical cord It was to enable me to harvest cells capable of supporting the growth of...

Using human embryos in research

In May 2016, a team of UK researchers described how they ‘show human embryos develop in medium supplemented with KnockOut Serum Replacement up to day 13 The experiment was stopped at this point...

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