To: all Directors of Licensed Centres
HFEA Inspectors
satellite units


Dear Director,

I am writing to bring all centres up to date with a policy decision recently made by the Authority relating to the inspection and monitoring of transport IVF satellite units. The Authority recognises that it is important to ensure that all centres have a clear understanding of the Authority's views on transport IVF and related policy and licensing issues.

Under Section 17(1) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990r it is the duty of the person responsible to secure that suitable practices are used in the course of activities, and that the conditions of licence are complied with.

The Code of Practice was amended in June 1993 to take into account transport activities. It states at paragraph 7.4 that where egg retrieval is to take place in premises not covered by a licence (a satellite centre), the law requires the person responsible at the licensed centre intending to carry out the subsequent embryo transfer to ensure that all the requirements of the Act and the Code of Practice are complied with before any part of the treatment begins. It also states that these requirements cover information, counselling, the Welfare of the Child and confidentiality and recommends that copies of the Act and the Code of Practice should be supplied by the licensed centre to the satellite centre.

The current inspection process requires that centres should inform the Authority and provide documentation relating to activities carried out at satellite centres which are then taken into account at the annual inspection visits to central IVF units. Satellite centres themselves are not formally inspected.

The Authority has been monitoring transport IVF activities for some time and a recent survey established that the number of transport IVF satellite units is increasing and that one third of all licensed IVF centres and half of centres licensed for DI only are involved in some sort of transport activity. The survey also indicated that some licensed centres are routinely carrying out transport activities with up to six satellite centres.
The Authority has decided that it will be necessary to conduct inspections to satellite centres in order to assure itself that the standards set out in the Act and the Code of Practice, for all aspects of the treatment services provided, are consistently applied to both central and satellite units. It is anticipated that the format of inspections will vary according to the relative complexity of methods used by centres to manage their transport activities. The legal position will be unchanged in that conditions will continue to be attached to licenses at central units which relate to transport activities and standards in satellite centres. The satellite centres themselves will not receive a licence from the Authority.

Any licence issued in future to a centre carrying out transport IVF will identify satellite centres that may be used. No other satellite centres should be used unless agreed by a licence committee and the licence has been varied accordingly.

The Executive will be drawing up internal management procedures and an inspection timetable to implement the new policy and centres will be informed of this in due course.

If there are any queries about the new policy, centres should contact Mark Salmon on 071 377 5077.

Yours faithfully


Additional note: 16 June 1994

Dear Director,

I would be very grateful if you could copy this letter to Directors of your associated satellite centres for their information. You should also ask them to contact me if they require additional information or if they have any queries about the Authority's policy at this stage.

Yours sincerely

Mark Salmon

Page last updated: 15 August 2012