The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, responsible for the regulation of fertility clinics and the use of embryos and sperm in treatment, is to be closed down by the Government.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley announced that the HFEA is amongst a group of health watchdog bodies which will be merged or culled in an effort to save costs and red tape within the NHS.
The HFEA will continue its work for the time being, but will transfer its functions to other bodies by the end of the current parliament.
The Government is looking into how the HFEA’s work can be split between a new research regulator, the Care Quality Commission, and NHS information body, the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
The HFEA’s work in monitoring and regulating the UK fertility industry cannot be underestimated. It regularly inspects UK fertility clinics to ensure they adhere to standard safety and ethical rules, it regulates research including pre-implantation screening of embryos and provides authoritative independent information to people seeking infertility treatment.
Infertility clinics like Manchester Fertility also have to report their pregnancy and live birth results to the HFEA, whether it’s for IVF or other treatments like ICSI.
So what does this all mean for patients going through or about to start infertility treatment? There will be a lengthy handover period whilst the HFEA’s functions are transferred to the new bodies, but in the meantime the HFEA will continue as usual.
You will see no change to the level of quality service you can expect from Manchester Fertility, you will continue to receive the highest level of care and treatment at all times. What it means for us is that we may have to report to, and be inspected by, a different body, but the standards will be no less than they always have been.
Last updated: 20th January 2020