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Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
Suzi Leather, chair of the HFEA
The HFEA is chaired by Suzi Leather
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), was set up in the UK in 1991.

One of its roles is to ensure that all treatment clinics offering IVF and fertility related treatments or procedures maintain high medical and professional standards.

The organisation is also responsible for making sure clinics are inspected regularly and provides advice and information about fertility treatment to the public.

The HFEA also has a regulatory role and it is responsible for licensing and monitoring all human embryo research.

Committee

It's website claims: "We must consider the ethical implications of a number of key issues, and we always take account of the national debate which these often stimulate."

These decisions are taken by a 21 person committee, which is made up of people from outside of the medical profession as well as embryo research professionals.

However the HFEA has been criticised for acting too slowly to keep up with developments in the world of fertility treatment and embryo research.

Dr Mohamed Taranissi, who runs London's Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre, said it can take as long as three or four years for a decision to be made.

"The problem with the HFEA is that whenever there is a new development, because of their position, we expect them to make decisions.

"But the HFEA doesn't make decisions - they just sit on the fence."

Panorama: The baby business

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