UK yet to harness full female potential

New technique promises to take the lottery out of IVF

Thousands of infertile couples who repeatedly undergo IVF treatment in the hope of having a baby could soon benefit from a scientific breakthrough that promises a radical increase in the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Smokers 'have higher risk of ectopic pregnancy'

Scientists have discovered why women who smoke have a higher risk of developing ectopic pregnancies, a new study revealed today.

Jeremy Laurance: Markers of physical health are determined at birth

The worst outcome of today's report from the Medical Research Council would be a sudden increase in bone-crunching handshakes delivered by men – or women – anxious to hold the Grim Reaper at bay.

Harriet Walker: Women get the worst of stereotyping

I was worried that ruthless spending cuts across the globe might mean that studies telling us stuff we already knew would become a thing of the past, but in Taiwan they clearly still value their Department of "Well, duh..." Neuroscientists there have discovered period pains can change the sufferer's brain, reports the September issue of PAIN magazine. (No, I didn't know it existed either; their editorial meetings must be excruciating.)

Prostate cancer: another chronic case of over-diagnosis?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with 35,000 new cases a year and 10,000 deaths. It is also one of the most rapidly increasing cancers but there is no reliable test for the disease.

Mice key to testicular cancer research success

Scientists have made a breakthrough in studying the origins of testicular cancer by grafting human tissue into mice. They have been able to study the development of the cells, which can cause testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC), the most common cancer among men aged 15 to 44.

Paul Vallely: Better an abortion than a mass grave?

The Roman burial of unwanted babies and new evidence on foetal pain make us think again about the start of a child's life

'Why can't I have a baby on my own?'

At 37 and single, Lulu Le Vay was shocked she may not be able to carry a baby. But when she decided to investigate surrogacy, she discovered that only stable couples need apply

Out for the count: Why levels of sperm in men are falling

Levels of 'viable' sperm in human males are falling – and scientists believe they now understand the cause. Infertility can begin in the womb, says Steve Connor

Scientists call for ban on danger chemical

Experts back <i>Independent</i> campaign to outlaw bisphenol-A in baby products

Two face Goa court over Scarlett Keeling murder

Two men went on trial in Goa today charged with the killing of British teenager Scarlett Keeling.

Great Works: A Complete New System of Midwifery (1751), George Stubbs

"Yes – the history of man for the nine months preceding his birth would, probably, be far more interesting, and contain events of greater moment, than all the three-score and 10 years that follow it." That was how Samuel Taylor Coleridge marked a passage in his copy of Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici.

Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: Should I go back to work now my children are at school?

Dear Virginia,

I've always stayed at home to look after my children, who are now aged three and four, and both at school for part of the day. Now I've been offered my old job back. My partner says I should go for it, because he can look after them one day a week and the rest of the time there are after-school clubs and childminders they can go to. I know some mums who go straight back to work a week after the baby's born – but my children still seem to need me. What shall I do?

Yours sincerely, Jennie

Flat stomach? It's a Cinch

Sales of abdominal bindings are growing as new mothers try to squeeze back into pre-baby clothes. But they may be putting their lives at risk
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
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Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments