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HFEA business continuity in light of coronavirus (COVID-19)

With the current coronavirus pandemic, we have taken action to manage any implications of the outbreak on our work.

Our priority is the health and safety of patients, clinics and our own staff. Therefore, it’s important that we do everything we can to protect ourselves, colleagues and our families, while we continue to deliver key aspects of our work.

Our office is now closed for the foreseeable future with all staff working from home, but as a modern organisation that encourages flexible working and is used to working remotely, we are prepared to continue to deliver the majority of our services over the coming weeks and months.

However, due to the nature of our work, there are some services that are impacted more than

others, which might cause some delays.

Office mail/postal orders

Please do not send any postal correspondence to the HFEA office until further notice.

For urgent postal correspondence, please send an email to enquiriesteam@hfea.gov.uk 

Patient and public enquiries

During this time, we’re prioritising the coronavirus-related enquiries. As we’re experiencing a surge in the volume of enquiries, it is likely that it will take us longer than usual to respond to non-coronavirus related questions.

Please keep in mind that we’re unable to provide medical or legal advice, nor counselling. If you have a specific medical question about your fertility treatment, you should speak to your clinic.

Opening the Register requests (OTRs)

Due to a surge in the volume of requests and staff capacity during the coronavirus outbreak, we have relaxed the 20-day deadline for Opening the Register requests. We will work through any request as quickly as possible, but please be advised that there might be delays and it might take longer than usual to get an email confirmation of your request.

Furthermore, we currently can’t accept any postal applications until further notice as our office is closed. For more information, visit our Opening the Register page on our website.

Donor anonymity applications

We can’t accept applications or documentation by post until further notice. You can email us at Opening.TheRegister@hfea.gov.uk to arrange a call with a member of our team, who can explain what we can do at this time.

Clinic inspections

We’ve decided to cease clinic inspections starting from 17 March 2020 until the end of August 2020. As the HFEA Act requires all UK clinics to have a licence from us to offer services, we’ve put measures in to ensure that clinics can continue to operate lawfully.

These include:

  • Clinics that are due renewal inspections between now and August will have their inspection date deferred
  • Where clinics have a four-year licence (at their previous renewal) and where compliance has been demonstrated, we will issue a one-year extension to the licence.
  • Where there is evidence of issues some clinics may be asked to provide information to enable a desktop analysis to be conducted before any extension can be granted.
  • Clinics that have a four-year licence and are due an interim inspection between now and the end of August will not be inspected.
  • Clinics with licences of less than 4 years or where a targeted inspection is required may either be asked to provide information for a desktop analysis and/or will be inspected as soon as possible after the inspection schedule restarts.
  • Research centres that have a licensed research project that is due for renewal between now and the end of August will have a desk-based renewal inspection with a decision on the renewal of the licence taken by an HFEA committee (by paragraph 3(8) of Schedule 2 a research licence cannot be granted for a period exceeding 3 years).

As the situation is moving quickly, our business continuity team are meeting daily to discuss this and make additional changes where needed.

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Review date: 22 September 2022