Set up in 1990 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, the HFEA is responsible for licensing, monitoring and inspecting fertility clinics to ensure patients and everyone born through fertility treatment receives high quality care. The HFEA is an ‘arm’s length body’ of the Department of Health, working independently from Government providing free, clear and impartial information about fertility treatment, clinics and egg, sperm and embryo donation. The HFEA is funded by licence fees, IVF treatment fees and a grant from UK central government.

About our data

By law, every fertility clinic in the UK has a duty to submit data to us about fertility treatments taking place and babies born as a result. We hold this data on a secure database known as ‘The Register’, which is the longest running database of its kind in the world. We collect data on more than 70,000 fertility treatments each year, ranging from IVF, to donor insemination, egg freezing and more. We use this data to improve patient care and help researchers to conduct world-class research, whilst protecting the confidentiality of patients.


Peter Thompson, Chief Executive of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, said:

“We are delighted to be joining the UK Health Data Research Alliance, and look forward to working with the other Alliance members to help improve research into fertility and ultimately improve patient care. As the UK fertility regulator we hold an unique set of data on our Register, which is the longest running database of its kind in the world.

There have been many advances in the development of fertility treatment since the birth of the first IVF baby Louise Brown over 40 years ago. Yet, the IVF sector, both in the UK and elsewhere, needs more high quality, evidence-based research to improve outcomes for patients. Being part of the Alliance will make our data much more accessible and allow researchers to look into much needed new developments and issues to improve fertility treatment for the benefit of patients.”

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Work that the HFEA has been involved in: