Press releases and statements

HFEA sends finalised mitochondria consultation reports and advice to Government

The HFEA has today sent the finalised public dialogue and scientific update reports from the public consultation ‘Medical frontiers: debating mitochondria replacement’ to the Government.

On March 20 the HFEA agreed and announced the advice it will give to Government regarding the ethics and science of new IVF-based techniques designed to avoid serious mitochondrial diseases.

  • Clinics wishing to offer mitochondria replacement should be specifically licensed by the HFEA to do so. 
  • The HFEA should approve each use of mitochondria replacement, though Regulations should provide the flexibility to modify this in the future.
  • Clinics should ensure that follow-up research on the children born takes place.
  • Mitochondria donors should be thought of as a kind of tissue donor: the resulting child should not have a right to identifying information about the donor, although information exchange and contact could be arranged locally by mutual consent.
  • A further assessment of the safety and efficacy should be commissioned by the HFEA once a clinic has submitted an application to carry out one of the techniques. This follows advice from an expert scientific panel that there is no evidence to suggest that mitochondria replacement is unsafe, but that further specific experiments should be conducted.

The Government will now internally discuss this advice in line with the finalised reports.


Notes to editors

  • 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.

For further information please contact the HFEA press office on 020 7291 8226 or email

Page last updated: 28 March 2013