Mohammed Taranissi, reputed to be the world's richest fertility doctor, has been granted a temporary reprieve by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), in order that his appeal might be heard.
Last month, Dr Taranissi, chief medical director of the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre (ARGC), the UK's most successful IVF Clinic, was informed by the HFEA that he could no longer take legal responsibility for the clinic after being found guilty of treating patients without the correct licence. He was told that his clinic would need to appoint another 'person responsible' by midnight on 9 August 2007, or be forced to close.
However, the HFEA have now issued a last-minute extension, so that Dr Taranissi's appeal can be heard next month. Dr Taranissi has vowed to continue his fight against the fertility watchdog, and has stated that he will continue to undertake fertility treatments at his clinics.
The dispute between Dr Taranissi and the HFEA began in January 2007, when police-assisted HFEA teams conducted simultaneous, unannounced inspections of his two London clinics, an action which the HFEA claims was the only way to obtain the regulatory documents required by law. Simultaneously, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) aired a specialist investigative report - 'IVF Undercover' - showing coverage of the raids, an incident which the HFEA claims was coincidental: 'The programme was made by the BBC and we have not been involved in its making in any way'. Last month, the High Court ruled that that the HFEA raids on Dr Taranissi's clinics were illegal, dismissing the authority's claim that Dr Taranissi had failed to provide the information needed to investigate the allegations against him.
The HFEA has acknowledged that Dr Taranissi is a 'dedicated physician, whose work was both successful and much appreciated by patients'. Mr Taranissi has said of the reprieve, 'there is no way the HFEA was going to come in and close me down today, they knew I was going to appeal'. He declared that he would use the first day of his reprieve to 'make three new babies'.