Now he is looking at pregnancy from the inside with nine large sculptures depicting the development of a foetus from 22 days to just before birth.
They have been carved in a pink marble whose mottling conveys the fine veins below the growing child's skin.
Great expectations: the huge foetus sculptures in the White Cube gallery by Marc Quinn are carved out of marble with pink veining that makes them look more realistic. The sculptures will be sold under the title Evolution
They go on display at the White Cube Mason's Yard gallery, St James's, tomorrow in Quinn's first exhibition in the capital since 2005.
Quinn was inspired partly by Slaves, sculptures by the Renaissance master Michelangelo, in which bodies almost fight their way out of rough-hewn rock.
But the five-ton sculptures, made of marble quarried from the Spanish-Portuguese border, were also prompted by witnessing the way viewers reacted with repulsion to Alison Lapper, the Trafalgar Square model, and to his series of figurative sculptures depicting people missing arms and legs.
Yet everyone had once been a foetus just like these curious-looking embryos, he said, as he put the finishing touches to the show.
"This one looks like an alien in films. Some are distinctively extraterrestrial.
"But it's universal because every single person has come from this."
He said the pieces flagged up "our relationship to our body and what is normal, beautiful or different".
After producing Alison Lapper Pregnant, Quinn created giant works of Kate Moss in a yoga pose.
One will be produced in gold at the British Museum later in the year.
"I thought the next thing to do would be to make a sculpture of the person who's the ideal beauty of the moment. But even Kate Moss doesn't live up to the image."
The embryo works continue Quinn's fascination with issues of genetics and DNA manipulation and have been developed from images in medical textbooks and scans of the 43-year-old artist's own two children, aged six and two.
The embryo sequence is being sold as a whole under the title Evolution. The show runs until 23 February.