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Independent review is needed to decide HFEA’s fate

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 19 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d379
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

Should the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) be rescued from the axe, or should it, as the UK government proposes, be allowed to perish, its functions absorbed by larger, more general bodies?

At a panel discussion organised by the Progress Educational Trust at the Royal Society in central London, three of the four speakers favoured retaining a specialist regulator of infertility treatment and embryo research. But Alison Murdoch, professor of reproductive medicine at Newcastle University’s Institute of Human Genetics, disagreed and called for an independent review of the HFEA’s function in regulating treatment.

The authority is on a list of 192 quangos that the government proposes to abolish, in many cases transferring their functions to other bodies. The HFEA’s role in regulating and licensing fertility clinics should be taken over by …

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