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Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority welcomes new member Reverend Ermal Kirby to join the Authority on 1 May 2019

Reverend Ermal Kirby has been appointed as the newest Lay Member to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Ermal brings to the Authority his experience of working pastorally with people who have been affected by infertility, in London and South Africa, as well as his grounding in Theology and Ethics.

An ordained minister, Ermal is currently the Superintendent Minister of the Barking Dagenham and Ilford Methodist Circuit, and an Associate of the Susanna Wesley Foundation at Roehampton University.

His interest in Bioethics began while he was on the staff of the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland and developed further as tutor in Ethics at The Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham. At Roehampton, he is working mainly on processes of transformational change in Church and Society.

Having previously served as an Authority member from January 2010 to December 2011, he was newly appointed on his return to London after four years working in South Africa.

Reverend Ermal Kirby said:

"I see this as a unique opportunity to work with colleagues from different backgrounds, and with very different perspectives, to address some of the most complex and sensitive issues of our day.

“In doing this there is the special challenge of having to consider, not only the views of families and individuals affected by infertility, but also the implications for the wider society. I look forward to contributing to the work of the HFEA as a Member."

Sally Cheshire, Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, said:

“We’re delighted to welcome Ermal to the Authority.

“Fertility is one of the most fast-moving and ethically challenging areas in health today and it’s crucial that our Authority includes a wide range of people with different expertise.

“Our Authority members bring an objective point of view to our board and committees and provide input on our strategy, as well as other regulatory and policy decisions, while they are also expected to provide effective scrutiny if needed.

“Ermal’s experience working with couples and individuals affected by infertility, as well as his background in theology and science will be a welcome, timely addition to the ethical expertise we already have at the Authority, as we’re embarking on the development of our new corporate strategy.”

The appointment will involve a time commitment of 3 days per month and runs from 1 May 2019 to 30 April 2022.

Every appointment to the HFEA is made on merit and political activity plays no part in the decision process. However, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Ermal has not declared any political activity.

To find out more about the HFEA’s Authority members and how the organisation regulates, visit


Notes to editors

  • HFEA is the UK’s independent regulator of fertility treatment and research using human embryos.
  • Set up in 1990 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, the HFEA is responsible for licensing, monitoring and inspecting fertility clinics to ensure patients and everyone born through fertility treatment receives high quality care.
  • HFEA is an ‘arm’s length body’ of the Department of Health, working independently from Government providing free, clear and impartial information about fertility treatment, clinics and egg, sperm and embryo donation.
  • HFEA is funded by licence fees, IVF treatment fees, and a grant from UK central government

Review date: 18 December 2021