As you may have heard, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has recently completed its consultation on fertility law and fertility testing. Fertility law is over 30 years old in the UK, and the consensus is that these laws need to be updated.
Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people undergoing egg freezing and storage has increased by 64%.
Trying in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is never as straightforward as we would like it to be. Many people go through nothing short of emotional roller-coasters when starting the process. This is why the HFEA began to the consultation; to highlight the fact that the laws and regulations surrounding this area need to be tightened up and modernised.
But first, besides trying to understand the law around fertility in the UK, finding the right fertility clinic suited to your needs when starting IVF is a massive decision! At Zita West, we can help you find the best fertility clinic.
Get in contact with our dedicated team to find the information you need to kickstart your journey into IVF and fertility.
What is Fertility Law?
Fertility Law in the UK was first put into effect in 1990 in the UK and has not been changed since. Having regulations put in place is detrimental to the success of IVF, and is a great way to protect every party involved in the process. Fertility law is “the law that governs fertility treatment and human embryo research in the UK” (HFEA).
What needs to change, according to the HFEA?
So, if there are already regulations that govern the way fertility is handled in the UK, then why do they need to be reworked? Well, we mentioned the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act was created and implemented in 1990, which means that it is over 30 years old (with the exception of being updated in 2008). A lot has changed since then in our society as well as within the fertility industry. The HFEA consultation is looking to update the law for the betterment of everyone.
What is the HFEA looking to improve on?
With the new advancements in science and technology, there are a new set of ethical requirements to consider when starting the fertility treatment process. There are also new assisted reproductive technologies which bring about new treatment options. The HFEA is looking to encourage innovation and authorise trials for low-risk patients.
Patient Safety and Good Practice
The HFEA is looking to implement this by being able to take reasonable and proportionate action when there has been negligence or when a patient’s safety is at risk. Furthermore, the HFEA is looking to gain more power so that they are able to challenge any fertility clinics that fall outside of those that are licensed.
The HFEA is considering simplifying the consent process to that of an ‘opt-out’ model, as well as allowing for automatic information sharing between clinics in order to promote safer patient care.
Access to Donor Information
The HFEA is looking to place legal requirements on all clinics to inform their recipients and donors of the risks involved with donor conceived children and finding out their donor’s identity. Also, the HFEA wants to ensure that all parties involved in using donation services have the information that they need about the implications surrounding fertility services. Lastly, the HFEA wants to promote anonymity until the age of 18 for all parents and donors after the birth of a child.
There is a lot to consider when looking to start IVF treatment, and the thought of it can leave many questions unanswered. If you feel overwhelmed by this big decision, feel free to get into contact with us here at Zita West or connect with us on Instagram.