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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
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

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Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

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Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

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He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
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Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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