HFEA cuts its costs and reduces fees

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has put proposals to the Department of Health and HM Treasury to reduce treatment fees charged to UK fertility clinics. Subject to final approvals, the HFEA expects to reduce in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and donor insemination (DI) treatment fees from 1 October 2011. These fees are currently £104.50 and £52 respectively and are expected to fall by some 25%. This was agreed at the Open Authority meeting held on 13 July 2011.

The Authority also agreed to discount to zero chargeable treatment fees on frozen cycles following elective single embryo transfer (eSET), to support the HFEA’s policy to minimise multiple births. As a consequence, an unintended effect of the current fee structure (where following the policy may result in more HFEA fees to be paid) will be eliminated. This is likely to take effect from 1 April 2012 due to the technical changes required and is expected to apply to 5,000 treatments per year.

The HFEA will now finalise the amounts to be charged and begin to communicate to clinics and stakeholders.
Professor Lisa Jardine, Chair of the HFEA, said:

“This is good news for patients. The proposed reduction in the fees clinics pay to meet the cost of regulation is only possible because the Authority is cutting its own costs very significantly. I am very pleased that one effect of this is to benefit patients.”

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Notes to editors

  • The HFEA is required by legislation to seek approval of the Department of Health (DH) and HM Treasury (HMT) for fee changes. In addition to treatment fees, the HFEA also charges fees for licences and licence changes.  Over 95% of the fees charged by the HFEA to the assisted fertility sector come from treatment fees (and 97% of these from IVF treatments). IVF treatment numbers have increased steadily over the past few years by 3-6% per year.
  • The HFEA acknowledges the support of HMT and the DH as our fee reduction proposals show how the following factors have enabled us to lower fees:
    • the investment we have made in processes, people and systems in the last few years,
    • the proactive response we have made to Government spending restrictions and changes to Arm’s Length Bodies, and
    • the continuing need to spend and manage public money effectively.

The DH has proposed to lower its contribution to the HFEA and these reductions will now lead to the assisted fertility sector benefitting to a similar extent. The reductions would, nevertheless, had to have been smaller if IVF treatment numbers had not been expected to remain high. The HFEA will keep its fees under annual review as it seeks savings and efficiencies in the future and in the light of transition plans.

  • The HFEA last changed these fees in 2006, when IVF treatment went from £103 to £104.50. It is also important to note that the IVF treatment fee levied by the HFEA is a small cost component of a full IVF treatment.
  • The HFEA is the independent regulator for IVF treatment and embryo research. Our role is to protect patients and the public interest, to drive improvement in the treatment and research sectors and to provide information to the public and policymakers about treatment and research.
  • The HFEA was set up in August 1991 as part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.  The HFEA’s principal tasks are to license and monitor clinics that carry out in vitro fertilisation (IVF), artificial insemination (AI) and human embryo research. The HFEA also regulates the storage of gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos. See www.hfea.gov.uk for further details.

For further information please contact the HFEA press office on 020 7291 8226 or email press.office@hfea.gov.uk

Page last updated: 15 July 2011