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The view of the UK regulator (HFEA)


The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is the UK’s independent regulator dedicated to licensing and monitoring fertility clinics and research involving human embryos.

Established in 1991, it regulates clinics and laboratories according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and the European Union Tissue and Cells Directive.

The 1990 Act ensured the regulation, through licensing, of the creation and use of human embryos in the laboratory, the use of donated embryos and gametes (eggs and sperm), as well as their storage.

The Act also requires the HFEA keep track of every IVF treatment carried out and a database relating to all assisted fertility cycles and the use of donated sperm and eggs.

In this video, Juliet Tizzard briefly recounts the history of the HFEA and then describes its role is in regulating fertility services, including their support for scientific advances in the field of assisted fertility. She then explains the benefits of going through a licensed clinic rather than obtaining sperm outside of the regulated framework.

Useful services provided by the UK regulator

Choose a fertility clinic – a useful search tool to find your nearest HFEA-licensed fertility clinic as well as their services and live birth rates.

Apply for information – the HFEA holds information about all fertility treatments that take place in the UK. Donor-conceived people can apply for information about their donor.

Donor Sibling Link – donor-conceived people are able to get in touch with others who share the same donor, their genetic siblings.

Patient information – the HFEA website has information on fertility treatments, freezing and storage options, as well as information on how to understand live birth rates and how to find the most suitable clinic.

Join the discussion
Please take a moment to review the above links. Whether you live in the UK or not, what do you think about the role of a regulator in the field of assisted fertility? Do you think it’s important to have one? Do you have experience of other regulatory frameworks?

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