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.)

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.

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.

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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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

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Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
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300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living