Carl Djerassi is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at Stanford and recipient of the National Medal of Science for the first synthesis of an oral contraceptive. His latest book, In Retrospect: From the Pill to the Pen, will be published in November.
 (September 2014)

The Divorce of Coitus from Reproduction

Leonardo Da Vinci: The Fetus and the Linings of the Uterus, circa 1511–1513
During the 1960s, with the introduction of the Pill, sex became separated from its reproductive consequences. In 1977, the British scientists Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe successfully carried out an in vitro fertilization (IVF), the process by which an egg is fertilized outside the body—ex utero—and the embryo is transferred …