British Fertility Society response to the release of the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill

Dr. Mark Hamilton, Chair of the British Fertility Society said:

“ The British Fertility Society welcomes the opportunity to contribute to forthcoming discussions on the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill. Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act is timely and the BFS has already made comment on specific proposals as outlined within the White Paper ( ).

The Society is anxious that any revised legislation does not impose unnecessary burdens on patients and clinics involved in fertility treatment. Reproduction is a very personal aspect of our lives and any measure which intrudes on this privacy should be resisted unless there is evidence of threat to the wellbeing of the rest of society.

The incorporation of the HFEA into the new Regulatory Authority for Tissues and Embryos (RATE) provides an opportunity to review its functions and current practice. This should include a re-evaluation of the costs of regulation to patients which currently are very considerable and much greater than the costs of regulation in other areas of health care. In addition, the role and accountability of the regulator in developing policy and regulating research in the IVF and stem cell arena should be re-evaluated, as well as a determination on what elements of regulation require to be enshrined in primary legislation rather than devolved to regulatory authority control.

In considering the scope of the Draft Bill the BFS would encourage parliamentary scrutiny of these key elements within the proposed legislation and is keen to contribute to the debate.”