UK scientists defend HFEA

Support for fertility watchdog after it is criticized by top IVF expert

Pat Hagan(pat.hagan@btconnect.com)
Dec 12, 2004

Scientists involved in reproductive medicine and stem cell research have leapt to the defense of Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), after a leading figure called on Friday (December 10) for it to be scrapped.

The authority was heavily criticized in media reports by Robert Winston, widely regarded as one of the country's most senior fertility specialists. Winston said in an interview with the BBC that he believed the HFEA should be scrapped and that its role should be taken over by a proposed new body, called the Human Tissue Authority.

Winston accused the authority of "shocking mismanagement," being too bureaucratic, and inhibiting research. But other researchers contacted by The Scientist said although the authority has its faults, scrapping it is not the answer.

The HFEA was set up in 1990 to regulate and inspect all UK clinics providing in vitro fertilization (IVF), donor insemination, or the storage of...

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