What might the end of the hfea mean for patients?

Posted on January 24, 2011 by


On 1 February, the Lords are planning to have an hours debate exploring what impact abolishing the Human Fertilisation and Embyrology Authority (HFEA), which regulates fertility clinics and all research using human embryos in the UK, might have on the safety of patients and public confidence in the regulation of clinics and research.

Baroness Thornton has requested the debate; the full title is:

Baroness Thornton to ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will maintain public confidence and patient safety following the abolition of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Human Tissue Authority. (1 hour)


Government is changing the system of regulation, including creating a single regulator of research. This involves getting rid of some of the separate arm’s length bodies that currently play a role in regulating research (like the HFEA and Human Tissue Authority (HTA)) and bringing all their research functions together.

At the beginning of January, the Academy of Medical Sciences published a report suggesting how a single research regulator might look (more here). We’re now waiting for the government to respond to that report and reveal the details of how they will change the regulatory system. Meanwhile, debate is raging over all the proposed changes and will continue to do so as this moves forward; check out this discussion last week on what the end of the hfea might mean.

Posted in: Policy