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Freedom of information

On this page you can find out how to make a request for information from us under the Freedom of Information Act or take a look at our responses to previous requests.

About Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act (2000) is a law that gives the public the right to access information held by public authorities, including the HFEA. It does this in two ways:

  • public authorities must publish certain information about their activities
  • members of the public can submit written requests for information to organisations.

The Act aims to improve openness and accountability in the public sector. View the full text of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Before you make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request

Before you make a request it is worth checking whether the information you want is already available on our website.

We regularly publish information in line with the Cabinet Office’s guidance on transparency, as well as publishing information about fertility trends, our policy work and the minutes for many of our meetings.

What should I include in my request?

Your request should be in writing and you need to include:

  • your name (not needed if requesting environmental information)
  • a contact address or e-mail address
  • a detailed description of the information you want.

You can find guidance on the wording of your request on the website.

Our legal duties

It is our statutory duty under the FOI Act to confirm to you whether we do or do not hold the information you have requested. This means that if we do hold the information you request then we are required by law to provide it to you, unless certain exemptions apply. If we cannot provide the information that you have requested we must explain why.

If your request is unclear, we may need you to provide clarification before we can begin processing your request.

If complying with your request would exceed the cost limits set out in the FOI Act we may refuse your request. Where possible, we will provide advice on how you could narrow the scope of your request.


We will provide information where possible. However, there are circumstances where the information we hold is sensitive and we are unable to release it.

The FOI Act identifies a number of exemptions which can be used to protect sensitive information. Further guidance on the exemptions can be found on the web site of the Information Commissioner.

Making a request

You can send your request to us via email at:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are unable to receive requests by post at this time.

We will acknowledge your FOI request in writing. We will then aim to issue a response within the legal deadline of 20 working days of receiving your request. Occasionally we will need additional time to process your request. If this is the case we will contact you by the legal deadline to let you know.


We will not charge for processing FOI requests in most cases. Where the total cost of processing an FOI request is more than £450, the HFEA may either refuse the request or, in exceptional circumstances, offer you the choice of paying for the processing of their request in full.

Information applicants are required to cover in full the cost of having information communicated to them in their preferred format. This includes the cost of postage, photocopying, printing and media such as CD-ROM.


If you are unhappy with our response then you have the right to complain. You can submit your complaint up to 6 months after the date you received the response. The first step is to write to us directly and ask us to conduct an internal review. We aim to respond to all complaints within 30 working days.

Once the HFEA complaints process has been exhausted, you have the right to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO):

Information Commissioner

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




Full contact details are available on the ICO website.

Review date: 16 August 2024