Licensing decisions

At a HFEA Licence CommitteeA report of your clinic inspection is considered by a Licence Committee or an Executive Licencing Panel.

After the committee has come to a decision regarding your clinic's application, it will write informing the Person Responsible and any licence holder of its decision.

Licences can be granted for any period up to five years, with inspections taking place periodically within that time.

For more information see:

What is a Licence Committee?
A Licence committee is made up of authority members and consists of sector specialists (doctors, scientists, clinicians or lay members).

What is the Executive Licensing Panel?
The Authority agreed to devolve some of their responsibility to the Executive and allow senior members of the Executive to make licensing decisions.

If your licence is granted

If the Licence Committee decision is to grant a licence, they will either:

  • issue a licence, or 
  • issue a licence subject to specific conditions.

If the committee decides to grant a licence a formal offer will be made to the Person Responsible who will need to acknowledge the offer before the final licence is sent.

Each licence is subject to certain statutory conditions which are set out in Sections 12 to15 of the HFE Act and to standard conditions which can be found in the Code of Practice 8th Edition  and Chair's Letters.

Granting of a licence subject to specific conditions

If the Committee decides to grant a licence subject to additional conditions, it will inform the Person Responsible and the Licence Holder of these further conditions (in addition to those set out above).

Accepting or contesting licence conditions

Licences will be issued only after the applicant and the Person Responsible have accepted the licence conditions in writing and paid any additional fee which is due.

Centres have 28 days in which to notify us that they wish to make representations about a Licence Committee decision.

If your application is refused

If the Committee proposes to refuse a licence, the applicant will be informed in writing (Section 19(1) of the HFE Act).

Centres have 28 days in which to notify us that they wish to make representations about a Licence Committee decision.

A licence may be refused for a number of reasons including:

  • the Authority may not be satisfied with the premises as an appropriate place to conduct licensed activities
  • If the authority feels the PR has not complied with the directions given in connection with their licence.

Appeals procedures

The HFE Act provides applicants with the right of appeal when a Licence Committee refuses to grant or vary a licence. Full details are set out in Sections 19, 20 and 21 of the HFE Act and the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (Licence Committee and Appeals) Regulations 1991.

Next steps

Find out how to renew your existing treatment and storage licence when it reaches its expiry date.


...renewing an existing licence

Page last updated: 28 September 2009

Application timeline

The premises timeline shows, step-by-step, each stage of the licensing process and the timeframe for processing all applications.

Download the premises timeline:

Guide to licensing - legislative framework

The HFEA is required to give guidance to licensed centres about the proper conduct of activities carried out in pursuance of a licence.

To access the complete legislative guide to licensing treatment, storage and research centres, read the HFEA’s legislative guide to licensing:

Guidance for clinics

Copyright 5AM-Images

HFEA licenced clinics should be familiar with the relevant statutory information. 

The guidance is in place to make sure clinics operate to standard safety and ethical rules:

Clinic inspection reports

Woman looking through a microscopeInspection reports outline and investigate the quality of service that HFEA licensed clinics provide to patients and donors.

Download and read the latest inspection reports. inspection reports