Stacked peices of paperWhat are Directions?

Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, the HFEA has the power to issue Directions - or rules.

Directions can be "General" which apply to all centres, or "Special" which apply to particular licensed centres.

General Directions are issued when the HFEA needs to modify a certain procedure or practice in light of new evidence, a series of incidents or external guidance.  Each general Direction covers a particular area of practice, for example there is a general Direction covering the provision of information to the HFEA, and another general Direction covering record retention.

Special Directions are issued to a specific centre and often for a limited time period. They are issued when HFEA inspectors become aware of a localised issue or if the centre applies to the Authority for Special Directions, for example, for the import or export of gametes/embryos.

Centres are required to comply with Directions; if a centre fails to do so this would amount to a breach of a statutory licence condition, which might lead to the variation, suspension or revocation of a clinics licence.

Directions are normally sent to clinics by the Chair of the Authority accompanied by a Chair's Letter that explains the reasoning behind issuing the Directions.

Page last updated: 03 December 2015

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