This is a printer friendly page
Free for educational use
From the website Australians At Work.
Video clip synopsis – An egg is collected from a woman's ovary and placed in a test tube to be fertilised by her husband's sperm. Once the embryo is growing normally it is placed back in the uterus.
Year of production - 1982
Duration - 1min 11sec
Tags - ethics, fertility , health, see all tags


Test Tube Babies

How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 testtube_pr.mp4 (8.7MB).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 testtube_bb.mp4 (4.1MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

Additional help.

buy iconYou can buy this clip on a compilation DVD.

About the Video Clip


Test Tube Babies is an excerpt from the film Medical and Scientific (12 mins), an episode of the series Australia in the 80s (6 × 12 mins), produced in 1982.

Medical and Scientific: A look at Australia’s contribution to science and medical technology and research in the 1980s including innovations in radio astronomy, solar energy and tools and techniques for medical diagnosis, microsurgery and IVF.

Australia in the 80s: This series gives a kaleidoscopic impression of the vivid variety and vigor of a nation still developing. As absorbing as the screen image, is the fact-filled commentary. Together they produce a lively film to tell the world about Australia in the 80s.

Australia in the 80s was produced by Motion Pictures Associates for Film Australia.

Curriculum Focus


This Digital Resource can be used to achieve the following outcomes:
H.1 A student demonstrates understanding of how relationships between composer, responder, text and context shape meaning.
H.3 A student demonstrates understanding of cultural reference in texts.
H.5 A student demonstrates understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts.
H.7 A student analyses the effect of technology on meaning.
H.8 A student adapts a variety of textual forms to different purposes, audiences and contexts, in all modes.
H.11 A student analyses and synthesises information and ideas into sustained and logical argument for a range of purposes and audiences.

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


In the 1970s scientific research was being carried out into artificial methods of helping women to conceive who would not otherwise be able to do so.

One aspect involved 'in vitro’ fertilisation — literally, 'in glass’, referring to the test tubes and dishes involved in the process.

An ovum from a female was fertilised by injection of male sperm outside the womb, then placed in the woman’s womb, where it was hoped the embryo would develop naturally to birth.

Some people questioned the ethics of artificially manipulating human procreation in this way.

Australia’s first 'test tube baby’ was born in 1980.

This clip, which was filmed in 1982, shows one of the early IVF pioneers, Carl Wood. At this time, the success rate of IVF was fairly low, with only 20% of IVF procedures resulting in a successful birth.

Classroom Activities

  1. Discuss and write answers to the following questions.
    1. If you knew nothing about the invitrofertilisation (IVF) process, and had no moral or ethical ideas about it, what messages would you receive from this video clip?
    2. Is the video clip a neutral presentation, or is it one that deliberately tries to present positive images? Give reasons for your answer.
    3. How is this video clip representative of the time it was filmed (1982)?
  2. Currently in Victoria the issue of whether IVF procedure should be made available to single women and lesbian women is constantly debated.
    1. Discuss in small groups and list points for and against this issue.
    2. Define the terms, ‘ethical’, ‘medical’, “political’ and ‘economic’ and comment how they each describe aspects of the IVF issue.
    3. Stage a formal class debate on the issue.
    4. Write a 350-word letter to the editor or a 500-word media article presenting your point of view on the issue.
  3. Create and present an 800-word written text using the theme, ‘Science is too important to be left to the scientists’. Your text may be a blog, letter, article, essay, short story, script, speech, personal reflection etc.

Literacy Activity: Focus= Viewing / Analysing

  1. What is the technical term for the colloquial expression ‘Test Tube Babies’? (1 mark)
  2. Who would undergo this procedure? (1 mark)
  3. How do the images presented show us:
    1. what the procedure involves (2 marks)
    2. the success rate is increasing (1 mark)

Further Resources


Go to IVF Australia
Go to Monash IVF