Assisted reproduction has been tightly regulated in the UK since 1991 and is set to remain so for the foreseeable future.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (the HFEA) oversees the implementation of a regulatory framework governing the creation, storage and use of human embryos in treatment, the use of donor gametes and various related procedures. This regulation is generally uncontroversial but sometimes difficulties arise, whether in respect of statutory interpretation, disagreements with the HFEA, or issues relating to patients.

We are the UK’s leading legal advisers in this sector, advising and representing a large number of public and private sector clinics and research centres in relation to regulatory and commercial matters. Our team has been involved in most of the notable cases regarding the regulation of IVF and embryo research, and we are regularly invited to lecture on the topic in the UK and internationally.

Our work includes the following:

  • Advising in relation to consent to treatment and storage, including statutory storage periods, withdrawal of consent, and consent to legal parenthood
  • Advising in relation to retention and disposal of gametes and embryos
  • Drafting patient contracts and third party agreements
  • Advising in relation to confidentiality and data protection issues
  • Acting in relation to disputes between patients and clinics, including clinical negligence and breach of contract claims
  • Drafting written representations and representing clinics before the HFEA Licence Committee and Appeal Committee
  • Acting in relation to judicial reviews relating to the HFEA
  • Advising in relation to Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration and regulatory action

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