24 November 2020: Alan Turing Institute talk

Robert was pleased to be a speaker at The Alan Turing Institute’s public conference, AI and data science in the age of COVID-19: Lessons learned and the way ahead.  His talk on Talking to the Public about Covid-19 is available in full.

Professor Robert Winston on Newsnight

We are all very aware of how underfunded the NHS is. Recently, to help reduce costs, the availability of IVF treatment on the NHS has been restricted or halted in 13 areas in England creating something akin to a postcode lottery.

This move has sparked a debate about IVF, associated costs, its necessity and possible long term environmental impact.

One of the voices in this debate belongs to Sirena Bergman who wrote an article for The Independent in which she argued against IVF being offered on the NHS. Last night, she joined Professor Robert Winston and Evan Davies on Newsnight to discuss IVF, the cuts and the surrounding issues.

When Sirena suggested that adoption could potentially be a solution to IVF, to which Professor Winston replied “people who are infertile suffer hugely” and “adoption is not a treatment for fertility” for “infertility is a symptom of a disease and there are at least a hundred causes of infertility”. He also draws her attention to how different NHS Trusts cost the treatment. For some it is as little as £1000, whilst in others the costs reached £6000.

When asked by Davies whether, if he had to cut IVF services, he would cut the age threshold or the number of cycles, he responded: “I would do IVF when it is really needed. At least half of the cycles are unnecessary, that’s one of the issues. Secondly, I want to cost it properly. The work we are doing now, the research we are doing can reduce that cost and I think that’s urgently needed.”

You can still catch the debate on BBC iplayer. The topic starts at 9:00 and the debate at around 13:41


Woman’s Hour Radio 4

Robert Winston speaks about navigating the world of fertility treatment and his new book.

You can listen to the show here

Felix – the Imperial College newspaper

Professor Robert Winston talks to James Bezer of Imperial College London’s student newspaper, Felix, about the vote to allow ‘three-parent babies’.  Visit the Felix online newspaper to read the full article.

In the next issue, James asked Robert for his views on the role of scientists in Parliament.  To read the article in full, visit the Felix website.


Following the Government’s decision to grant a licence for mitochondrial transfer to be used in the hope of preventing mitochondrial disease, Robert spoke with Zeinab Badawi on BBC World’s HARDtalk.

“We are not here to supplant the work of God,” he told HARDtalk.

Lord Winston, a professor of science and society at Imperial College London and an IVF pioneer said: “We are, of course, capable of imitating God. That’s a good thing to do. We use our God-given intelligence to try to avert horrible diseases – that is very different from saying ‘the human is now rather below what we need, we want superhuman,'” he said

“Enhancing humans in my view and in most scientists’ views is not a wise decision,” he added.