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2018 Annual conference

Our annual conference 2018 took place on Thursday 15 March at Church House, Westminster. We celebrated the 40th birthday of Louise Brown, the world’s first IVF baby, and looked at how far the sector has come in that time.

About the 2018 annual conference

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This year’s conference saw the launch of the new fertility trends report with a keynote addresses from our Chair, Sally Cheshire CBE. Louise Brown also joined us on the day and gave a talk about her life as the world's first IVF baby.

Delegates attended workshops covering:

  • how research can benefit patients and professionals
  • supporting patients
  • achieving better clinical standards of care - best practice in OHSS
  • using HFEA data effectively to benefit the sector and patients

Our partners and stakeholders exhibited at the marketplace. Our Authority members were also be there, along with a number of guest speakers.

Presentation videos

Expand the titles below to watch all the keynote speeches from the 2018 HFEA annual conference.

Sally Cheshire CBE

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Dr John Webster and Louise Brown

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Jackie Doyle Price MP

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Nick Jones and Peter Thompson

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Conference booklet and agenda

Read the full conference booklet, including introductions from our Chair Sally Cheshire and Chief Executive Peter Thompson as well as the day's full agenda.

Download the conference booklet (PDF 2.32 MB)


The audience during one of the speeches at the HFEA annual conference 2017

There were four workshops this year, covering a variety of topics. Expand each workshop title to reveal more information about the session.

How better research can benefit patients and professionals

This workshop explores embryo and data research and the important contribution that clinics can make to it. It explores new methods to encourage better research and looks at some successful research collaborations and how to get patients involved.

Chair: Bobbie Farsides

Support: Anne Lampe and Lee Rayfield

Download the presentation (PDF 3.1 MB)

Supporting patients

This workshop discusses the importance of supporting patients throughout their treatment and how providing good support is the responsibility of everyone in the clinic. It looks at how effective leadership can help towards excellent patient-centred care.

Chair: Kate Brian

Support: Ruth Wilde

Download the presentation (PDF 2.5 MB)

Achieving better clinical standards of care - best practice in OHSS

After the recent media coverage of OHSS, this workshop provides guidance on best practice methods of recording and reporting OHSS including keeping in touch with patients throughout their treatment.

Chair: Tony Rutherford/Yacoub Khalaf

Support: Nick Jones

Download the presentation (PDF 431 KB)

Using HFEA data effectively to benefit the sector and patients

This workshop covers how we are working to deliver more value from the data we collect and to identify next steps. We will discuss key findings from the fertility trends report, and seek your input on how we should develop our statistical reports.

Chair: Margaret Gilmore

Support: Anita Bharucha

Download the presentation (PDF 1 MB)

Conference exhibitors

Two people talk to a conference exhibitor at the HFEA annual conference 2017

During the breaks, and over lunch, delegates had the chance to speak to our various exhibitors at their stands in our marketplace.

Conference speakers

The conference involved people from across the sector presenting and chairing discussions.

Sally Cheshire CBE

An Authority member since 2006, Sally has personal experience of unsuccessful IVF. She has been our Chair since January 2014 and her appointment is until March 2020. She also chairs Health Education England (North) and is a Board member for Adoption Counts, the regional adoption agency.

Sally worked for nearly 20 years in business, finance and management consultancy before joining the health sector as a senior leader. She is passionate about high quality care and treatment for patients and was awarded a CBE in the Queen's 2017 birthday honours for services to infertility patients and the NHS.

Louise Brown

At 11.47 on July 25, 1978 Louise Brown was the first person ever to be born through science rather than as a result of two people having sex. The birth was hailed as a “miracle” by the world’s media making her instantly famous.

Louise grew up at the centre of the debate about the morality of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) while also being a beacon of hope to millions of childless couples throughout the world. She was the first of an estimated 10 million people worldwide who have since been born through Assisted Reproductive Techniques.

Louise Brown head shot

Peter Thompson

Peter became our Chief Executive in April 2012 after three years as Director of Strategy and Information. He is responsible for our overall performance and is focussed on our vision of ensuring high quality care for everyone affected by assisted reproduction.

Peter became an external member of the Council of Queen Mary University of London in November 2017.

Prof Daniel Brison

Professor Daniel Brison is a Consultant Embryologist at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester and Person Responsible to the HFEA for licences in embryo research and embryonic stem cells. He is a member of the HFEA's Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee, the UK Association of Clinical Embryologists Scientific Advisory Committee, Clinical lead for the UK national MSc in Reproductive Sciences and an examiner for the Royal College of Pathologists.

His clinical and research interests include: improving the effectiveness and safety of clinical assisted reproductive technologies (ART), the characterisation of early human development at the molecular level, the derivation and use of clinical grade embryonic stem cells for the treatment of disease, and the impact of environmental factors and ART on embryonic and child health. 

Jenny Nichols

Jennifer Nichols began her research career in early mammalian development with Richard Gardner at the University of Oxford. She then joined Austin Smith for a long and fruitful collaboration to develop strategies for efficient derivation of embryonic stem cells from murine embryos. She is now a group leader at the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and Professor of Embryonic Pluripotency at the department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge.

Ruth Wilde

Ruth is a counsellor with over 18 years’ experience, specialising in infertility since 2002. Currently a Senior Fertility Counsellor at the Complete Fertility Centre in Southampton, Ruth has previously worked in Birmingham and London, helping NHS and private patients from diagnosis to the end of treatment and beyond. She became an Authority member on 1 January 2016 and her term continues until 31 December 2018.

Ruth was elected to the British Fertility Society’s (BFS) Executive as Counselling Representative in 2010.

Dr Raj Mathur

Raj is Clinical Lead for Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at Manchester NHS Foundation Trust. He is secretary of the British Fertility Society and an Advisor to HFEA SCAAC. Raj has a research and clinical governance interest in Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome and led on the current RCOG and BFS guidelines for managing OHSS.

Dr Zeynep Gurtin

Dr Gurtin is a Senior Research Associate at the London Women’s Clinic and a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge. Her background is in reproductive sociology and she has over 15 years of research experience on the social and ethical aspects of assisted reproductive technologies. She has published using both qualitative and quantitative data on a variety of subjects, including couples’ experiences of IVF; Islam and assisted reproduction; egg-sharing; cross-border reproductive care; and, most recently, on egg freezing and the views of single women attending fertility clinics.

Paula Nolan

Paula has worked in the clinical governance filed for over 20 years. Paula initially trained as a critical care nurse specialising first in heart and lung transplant and later in emergency medicine.

After leaving acute medicine Paula became the Senior Caseworker at Action Against Medical Accidents. As well as spending several years as an Investigation Manager at the Healthcare Commission. She became the Clinical Governance Lead at the HFEA in June 2011 after three years as Patient Complaints & Incident Inspector.

Jessica Hepburn

Jessica Hepburn is one of the UK’s leading patient voices on fertility, infertility and assisted conception. She is the author of two books and writes and speaks widely in the press and media about fertility.

Jessica has been a trustee of the national charity Fertility Network UK and is a member of the Fertility Education Initiative. In 2016 she founded Fertility Fest the world's first arts festival dedicated to fertility, infertility, modern families and the science of making babies.

Alongside this she is also leading a major fertility arts education project – entitled Modern Families – aimed at encouraging a more rounded and robust approach to fertility education on the National Curriculum, in collaboration with the British Fertility Society, University College London’s Institute for Women’s Health and Cardiff University’s School of Psychology.

Jessica Hepburn headshot

Sue Avery

Sue Avery is the Director of The Fertility Centre at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. She has been working in the field of infertility for 30 years, as a clinical embryologist. Sue has a degree in Zoology from the University of Wales, and wrote her PhD thesis under the supervision of Professor Robert Edwards, who pioneered the IVF technique, and subsequently followed in his footsteps as Scientific Director of Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridgeshire, where she also ran international training courses.

She has a postgraduate diploma in Law, and was involved in advising Health Canada on the risks of assisted conception, as part of the work up of Canadian legislation.

Sue was the Chair of the Association of Clinical Embryologists from 2003 to 2005  and the treasurer of  the British Fertility Society from 2011 to 2015. Sue as the first Clinical Embryologist to be appointed as a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and has been a member of the MRC Stem Cell steering committee, as well as being one of the first embryologists to be granted fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists.

A headshot of Sue Avery

Lisa Whiting

As the Data and Insights Analyst in the newly formed Intelligence Team, Lisa played a key role in designing our new intelligence strategy, which places patient experience at its heart. She led on this year’s Fertility Trends and Figures report, and is working across the organisation to develop new ways of using qualitative intelligence to drive impact.

Previously, Lisa has worked in the education sector, championing the role of student feedback in quality improvement.

A headshot of Lisa Whiting

Avril Mackie

Avril Mackie is CARE Nottingham's Clinic Director and is focused on supporting the clinic staff to ensure the delivery and maintenance of excellence in all areas of service from CARE’s market leading success rates, to the highest standards of clinical care and ensuring patient satisfaction from the moment you contact CARE.

Avril has extensive experience in healthcare and is passionate about delivering quality care to the highest standards. This passion evolved from qualifying as a Registered General Nurse in Dundee in 1985, continuing her professional development with a BA degree in Health Studies completed in 1994 to today being an advocate and supporter of safe clinical and emotional care.

Prior to joining CARE 3 years ago Avril's previous roles included Theatre Manager and Director of Clinical Services roles in the private sector with BMI Healthcare and the NHS.

Charlotte Hall

Charlotte is the Lead Embryologist and Quality Manager at Sussex Downs Fertility Centre (SDFC) in Eastbourne.  She has been working in the field of reproductive science for 20 years (both research and clinical) with the last 14 years as a Clinical Embryologist.  She gained her BSc in Zoology at University College London, a PhD in Reproductive Cryobiology at The Royal Veterinary College and is an Associate Member of the Royal College of Pathologists.

As an embryologist, Charlotte has retained her research links by forming collaborations with laboratories to further research in the area of embryonic stem cells and is involved with provision of training and assessment for the Scientist Training Programme (STP) following establishment of the first Private Sector training centre for Reproductive Science.

Head shot of Charlotte Hall

John Webster

John Webster Qualified MB. Ch.B in 1960 at Liverpool and became a House officer and Senior House officer to Patrick Steptoe 1963.

He worked in General Practice for a short while in the UK before leaving to be a GP in Canada.

John returned to UK in 1974 to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology with Patrick Steptoe in Oldham where he was invited to become involved in the IVF research during which time he gained the MRCOG.

In 1980 John helped set up Bourn Hall and left in 1985 to set up an IVF unit at the Park Hospital, Nottingham, where I worked until I retired in 2006.

Kelly Da Silva

Kelly Da Silva is a Fertility Support Expert, Writer, Speaker, EFT & NLP Practitioner and founder of The Dovecote: Childless Support Organisation
Inspired by her own personal experience of infertility, miscarriages and involuntary childlessness of over a decade, Kelly now supports people at all stages of their fertility journey and beyond. She specialises in providing emotional support in her role as ‘CARE Fertility Support Coordinator’ and facilitates a range of support events for those going through their fertility journey.

As Founder of The Dovecote: Childless Support Organisation, she also helps to raise awareness of fertility and childlessness issues by being a leading voice in this area and often speaking about this topic.

Dr Esmée Hanna

Dr Esmée Hanna works in the Centre for Health Promotion Research in the School of Health and Community studies at Leeds Beckett University.  With a background in sociology, Esmée’s research primarily focuses on men and reproduction, including men’s experiences of infertility and the experiences of young men who are fathers.

Recent projects have included explorations of men’s emotions and help-seeking online for infertility, the impact of infertility on men’s intimate partner relationships and current work is examining men and lifestyle in the context of delayed conception. 

Review date: 16 March 2024