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An open letter to fertility patients

23 March 2020
By Sally Cheshire CBE
Chair, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)
Appeared in BioNews 1040

As Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the regulator responsible for overseeing all UK fertility clinics, I wanted to write an open letter to all of you who are currently undergoing or were planning fertility treatment at this difficult time.  

As a former fertility patient myself, I understand that having fertility treatment under normal circumstances can be very distressing, so I appreciate that it must be even more so in the current situation that we are all facing. We are closely monitoring this and have been guided by the medical and scientific experts in the UK fertility sector (the British Fertility Society and the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists) on the advice we should give to fertility clinics. 

Their advice is that clinics should plan to stop treatments over the next three weeks, allowing patients to complete any cycle they have started. We have written to all UK licensed clinics to tell them that we expect them to follow this guidance. 

I recognise that this is very distressing for many of you as it means you have already, or will have, your treatment stopped or delayed. While this is unwanted news, I hope that you understand that this is the only responsible course of action for the fertility sector and patients at this tough time. 

These are extraordinary times and very sadly it will impact on your ongoing fertility treatment at this time. 

Please ensure you stay in touch with your clinic so that you can be easily contacted when treatment can resume. You may also find it helpful to access support services via your clinic, or elsewhere like through Fertility Network UK, where experienced staff can give you help and advice. We will continue to update our website on a regular basis. 

I wish you all well in these difficult times. 

An open letter to fertility patients
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority |  23 March 2020
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