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Ashiru, IFFS eulogise IVF pioneer, Ian Craft


Prof. Ian Craft has died aged 81. He was one of the leading and pioneering In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) experts in London, United Kingdom (U.K.).

Joint pioneer of IVF in Nigeria, Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, told The Guardian: “Many Nigerians went for IVF treatment in his Clinic in the early 1980s. He died on Monday, June 3, 2019. The email below sent to me as member of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) Executive Council speaks for itself. During our early IVF period, I knew his clinic at Cromwell Road in London.”

Craft described himself as ‘innovative’ and ‘someone prepared to stand up for his principles’, but others said he wanted to push the boundaries of what was possible and acceptable ever further. It is argued that it is his determined iconoclasm that made him master of what he called ‘fertility milestones’. His team was responsible for the first test-tube IVF twins in 1982, then triplets in 1984, and the world’s first birth following egg and sperm transfer into the uterus, in which a sample of sperm is taken, then washed and put into the uterus. Two years later came Britain’s first Gift births (gamete intra-fallopian transfer, where the egg is fertilised in the fallopian tubes and transferred to the uterus). In 1987 there was Europe’s first donor-egg birth.

Three years ago he succeeded in bringing to birth the first frozen donor embryo, and this year saw Britain’s first pregnancy pioneering the Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) technique (for which he was granted the first licence), in which a single sperm is injected directly into the egg. After working at several British National Health Service (NHS) hospitals, he was made Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Royal Free Hospital in north London in 1976. Then he moved into the private sector. He spent three years leading the infertility clinic at the Cromwell Hospital in west London and five years doing the same at the Humana Hospital Wellington, also in London. He later set up his own centre in 1990.


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Ian CraftOladapo Ashiru
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