An interesting side effect of writing a novel about time travel is that you start to think quite a bit about a juxtaposition of the past and present. How would the past be different with modern technology?
For instance, I recently read an article about a woman who was told by her doctor that she would never be able to carry a child. When her sisters heard the news, they instantly offered to be her surrogates. Both women are now currently carrying their own niece and nephew in a beautiful act of sibling love. The nephew was a surprise, as previously only girls had been born into this family. However a commenter pointed out that the sex of the child is determined by the father, who carries the Y chromosome, and therefore this lack of boys has nothing to do with the mothers involved.
This led me to think about the English royal family. Having a male heir used to be a huge issue, of course. Let us not forget Henry VIII's six marital adventures in an attempt to produce the required heir and spare! Nowadays, thanks to IVF (In Vitero Fertilization) and surrogacy, this is no longer an issue. If for some reason Princess Kate has trouble getting pregnant, she and William will have plenty of options for dealing with the issue.
I think it'll be quite interesting, actually, to see if this ever becomes an issue with any royal family, and if so, how the country decides to deal with it. Would they have any problem with IVF or surrogate pregnancy? Would there be legal issues involved? In IVF, there are usually several fertilized eggs that are frozen and kept for future use. How would this affect the line of succession? If all of the children were conceived at the same time, but grown at different dates, would a law have to be passed clarifying how age is determined?
All in all, I think it would be a good thing. No longer do royal brides have to agonize over any failure to produce an heir. Since they have the money to fund fertility treatments, science has assured them of minimal stress in the matter.
How different would English history have been if such methods have been available to King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon? There would have been no Great Matter. No Anne Boleyn. No English Reformation.
Or would there? My understanding is that currently the Catholic Church is opposed to IVF and strongly promotes adoption instead as a solution to infertility. Would there have been a waiver for the matter of royal succession? Or would this provoked a controversy ushering in the Protestant Reformation in England after all?
(Note, this totally isn't meant as an attack on Catholic IVF beliefs, it's just part of this historical 'what if' I'm throwing out here. I adore Tudor history and unfortunately it does bring up a lot of Catholic vs. Protestant stuff. But this piece is intended just for fun. :) )