Dame Anne McLaren (1927 – 2007) was a developmental biologist who pioneered techniques that led to human in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
In 1958, while working with John Biggers at the Royal Veterinary College , McLaren produced the first litter of mice grown from embryos that had been developed outside the uterus and then transferred to a surrogate mother. This work paved the way for the development of IVF technologies and the birth of the first IVF baby Louise Brown some 20 years later. The pages from her laboratory notebook shown here record her experiments, dated between 1955 and 1959, involving this work.As well as undertaking research, she was a keen advocate of scientists explaining their work to the population at large and being involved in the formation of public policy. McLaren was a member of the Warnock committee whose advice led to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 1990 as well as the establishment of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. This regulated in vitro fertilization and the use of human embryos and she served on it for over 10 years.