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Digital Subscriptions > > AN INSPECTOR CALLS


Kate Brian examines the fertility clinic inspection process and the criteria for measuring the standard of treatment offered to hopeful parents.

It's eight o'clock on a bright morning, and a team of three inspectors from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) are gathered outside one of the UK's 127 licensed clinics and research centres. The inspectors will be spending the entire day at the clinic checking that they are happy to renew the licence that allows the clinic to offer fertility treatment. The staff are expecting the visit, and are ready for the inspectors who will ensure the clinic complies with the standards set by the HFEA.

Sally Cheshire

So what is the HFEA and why does it inspect clinics? It was set up in 1991 after a report which recommended that the still relatively new field of assisted reproduction and embryo research in the UK should be regulated. The aim of the HFEA was to monitor the country’s clinics and research centres; inspections are therefore a key part of HFEA regulation as they ensure that clinics are working in the right way.

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