26 October 2015
Chief Executive, Human Fertilisation and Embryology AuthorityAppeared in BioNews 825
Many will remember Lisa Jardine, who died at the weekend, for her many academic achievements and her broadcasting prowess. But, at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), we will remember her for the impact she had on the world of fertility; on research, treatment and the lives of patients.
Much of the time that Lisa chaired the HFEA, our existence was in doubt. Yet Lisa never let that uncertainty get in the way of doing our job. She focused on the future and kept staff and board members' spirits high with her infectious enthusiasm. And under her leadership we achieved great things, not least in paving the way for mitochondrial donation to be made legal in the UK. It's a sad coincidence that she has died just a few days before the new law – which she was so proud of – comes into force.
Lisa's many friends and colleagues at the HFEA and across the fertility sector will remember her for her great intellect, her confidence to speak out and her care for fertility patients. Those of us who knew her personally will also remember her with admiration and fondness, grateful for her immense generosity and personal support.
Towards the end of her time as chair of the HFEA, Lisa spoke up for the many fertility patients for whom treatment has not worked. She said in an interview in the Independent, 'IVF is a wonderful story of hope but we still have to deal with the fact there is an increasingly large pool of people who are grieving as a result of this process'. We are heartbroken that Lisa's own medical treatment ultimately failed to save her life, but we are determined that her legacy of putting patients first will live on in what we do.
A statement remembering Lisa can be found on our website.