Meet our Authority members
Our Authority members are non staff members who are appointed to bring an objective point of view to our board and committees. This page introduces you to them and tells you a bit about their background.
Julia Chain (Chair)
Julia joined the HFEA as Chair in April 2021 with over 30 years’ experience in legal and managerial roles in both private practice and industry. Among many senior roles she became the first woman managing partner of a top 100 law firm, Andersen Legal, and most recently led the UK and European operations of Advanced Discovery Inc.
Julia is also active in the charitable and public sector. She was for over 8 years Deputy Chair of Norwood, a leading learning disability and children’s charity, and was previously a Deputy Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality. Currently Julia is a Trustee at Sadeh, an environmental education charity and the Human Dignity Trust, a leading charity in fighting for and securing the decriminalisation of LGBT people.
Tim is Associate Professor of Reproductive Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health at the University of Oxford. He became an Authority member in January 2021 and Chairs the Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee (SCAAC).
Tim was a member of the 2013 NICE Fertility Guidelines Group. He is co-author of the UK’s highest selling Obs and Gynae textbook and has published over 100 research papers and chapters. Tim is a firm believer in Evidence Based Medicine and has undertaken many trials assessing assisted conception interventions.
Frances is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Genetics at King's College, London, and Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, where she worked as a member of the Pre-implantation genetic testing team for 25 years in addition to being the Trust's Caldicott Guardian for 12 years. She became a member of the Authority on 1st May 2022. Frances is also currently a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and previously served on the Human Genetics Commission. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and past President of the Clinical Genetics Society.
Zeynep is a Lecturer at the EGA Institute for Women’s Health at UCL. She is a sociologist with two decades of research and teaching experience into the social, ethical, emotional, and relational aspects of fertility treatments and family making. She has published widely on infertility and childlessness, IVF and Islam, egg sharing, egg freezing, solo motherhood, later motherhood, and patients experiences of treatment delays and disruptions due to Covid-19.
Zeynep is a member of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE); the Convener of the Special Interest Group on ‘Reproduction and Society’ for the International Society of IVF (ISIVF); a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). She also has ongoing research connections with the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) at the University of Cambridge.
Zeynep takes an active role in public communication, runs informal information sessions for women considering their fertility options, and occasionally writes opinion columns for The Guardian.
She has had personal experience of pregnancy loss, IVF, and other fertility treatments on her long journey to motherhood.
Jonathan is a Professor of Law at the University of Oxford. He became an Authority member on 18 July 2018 and his term runs until 17 July 2024.
Jonathan teaches medical law and ethics, family law and criminal law. He has written extensively in all of these areas and published over 50 books.
He is also a qualified solicitor but has not practiced since qualification.
The Rt Revd Graham James
Graham comes from a family of tin miners in Cornwall, and was ordained in the Church of England in 1975. He served in parishes and then as Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury before becoming a bishop, first in Cornwall, followed by 20 years as Bishop of Norwich (1999-2019). He has now retired in his native county.
Graham has undertaken a wide range of other work alongside his ministry in the Church. He was a board member of the Countryside Agency, reflecting an interest in rural issues. He was also the main spokesperson on media issues for the Church of England, and a regular broadcaster, while also serving on the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications. More recently, he was asked by the Government to chair the Paterson Inquiry, an independent inquiry which examined the wider issues related to the malpractice of a surgeon who is currently in prison for wounding with intent. This reported in February 2020.
Graham’s interest in fertility issues is related both to his own pastoral experience (which prompted him to lead a General Synod debate on embryo research as long ago as 2003) and an increased sensitivity to wider issues in medical ethics deepened by his chairmanship of the Paterson Inquiry.
Alex is a campaigner for inclusive use of technology to improve health outcomes and better transparency of data to improve the quality of services and ensure citizens have the same information as clinicians and managers.
He divides his time between an international role with the Australian data analytics and AI company Beamtree, and as an authority member of the HFEA. He has previously worked for Dr Foster and ZPB Associates. He was also an advisor to the Cabinet Office on open data policy and a member of the NHS National Information Board from 2014 – 2020.
Alex was an inaugural winner of the James Mayes award and spent time working on emerging models of accountable care for US healthcare company Premier Inc and on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.
In 2018 Alex was appointed as an adviser to the Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by breast surgeon Ian Paterson.
Jason is Consultant Embryologist, head of fertility services and HFEA Person Responsible at the Shropshire & Mid-Wales fertility centre, as well as the current Chair of the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS). He became an Authority member on 18 January 2021 and has previously worked with the HFEA on a number of committees and as an external advisor to the inspection team.
As well as being a visiting Professor at the University of Chester/ University Centre Shrewsbury, Jason sits on the Genomics and Reproductive Science specialty advisory committee and the examination committee for Reproductive Science at the Royal College of Pathologists, is a Director of the Association of Clinical Scientists and a member of the Professional Council of the Academy for Healthcare Science.
Alison has personal experience of many years of fertility treatment and her daughter was born following IVF and gestational surrogacy. She joined as an Authority member on 1 April 2021, and her term runs until 31 March 2024.
Alison also brings 15 years of experience as a regulator. She is Director of Standards and Audience Protection at Ofcom, where she leads teams with responsibility for setting and enforcing content standards for television, radio and on demand services. She also serves as an executive member on Ofcom's Content Board.
She began her career in television production, working as a producer and director on medical and scientific documentaries and other factual programmes.
Alison is Registered General Nurse and Midwife who is an experienced fertility nurse with management skills and has worked with Government and Health Boards to provide the best care to all who use fertility services. She worked in the Aberdeen Fertility Centre for 36 years and was the Manager, Quality Manager and HFEA Licensed holder.
Alison was a founder member of the Senior Infertility Nurses Group - which provides peer support, guidance and encouragement to its members, promotes education and training for all fertility nurses working and caring for individuals seeking fertility treatment and also a founder member of the Scottish Infertility Counselling Group. Alison worked with Scottish Government since 2011 to produce national criteria to ensure equity of service throughout the country. Alison was the first and only nurse to hold the position of Secretary of the British Fertility Society (BFS) and is currently a Trustee of the BFS, and also a Trustee of Progress Educational Trust. Alison is passionate about nurse education to ensure patients receive high quality care throughout their investigations and treatments. She is working with the International Federation of Fertility Societies to promote nurse education in Africa.
Gudrun Moore is Professor of Clinical and Molecular Genetics at UCL’s Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. She joined as an Authority member on 18 July 2018 and her term runs until 17 July 2024.
Gudrun's research includes the molecular genetics of major complications of pregnancy, foetal growth restriction, prematurity, pre-eclampsia, and recurrent miscarriage.
From 2009-2014, in collaboration with Professor Lesley Regan, she established the 'Baby Bio Bank', facilitating research into the main complications of pregnancy. She has an international reputation for her work in both paediatric and obstetric specialities, recognised by awards to an honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and a fellowship of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Geeta is the Lead Consultant for Reproductive Medicine at St George’s Hospital NHS Trust and the Medical Director of Create Fertility and abc IVF which have clinics across the UK and in Denmark. She is a hands-on consultant in fertility and assisted reproduction and GMC Responsible Officer for Create Fertility. She has published nearly 100 research papers including book chapters and editorials. Her research interests include mild approaches in assisted reproduction, affordable and global access to fertility care, education in reproductive health in schools and advanced ultrasound technology in reproductive medicine. She has previously served on several national and international scientific and advisory committees.
She is a Trustee and Director of UK charities, The Five Foundation and Create Health Foundation. She is the Co-Founder and President of the International Society for Mild Approaches in Assisted Reproduction (ISMAAR). She is a Board member and Vice Chair of the British Red Cross. She is also the co-founder and medical advisor of the Ginsburg Women’s Health Board UK. She is passionate about women’s safety in IVF, making assisted reproduction treatments accessible and closing the gender health gap.
Catharine Seddon (Deputy Chair)
Catharine spent 20 years as a film maker. She started as a graduate trainee producer with the BBC and ultimately set up her own production company making long-form documentaries for the BBC and C4.
In 2002, she became a magistrate and eventually left television to take up other judicial roles and to join the board of the Human Tissue Authority, where she became Audit Committee Chair and Senior Independent Director (during which time, she also sat on the independent appeals committee of the HFEA. Catharine is now the Senior Independent Director of the Gambling Commission and her term at the Legal Services Board came to an end at the end of September 2023. Catharine also sits on the board of CAFCASS, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.
In addition, she is a senior tutor at the Civil Service College; she sits on tribunals in mental health and employment and as a lay assessor on civil cases in the county courts, and recently been appointed to the Health Service Products Appeal Tribunal as well as taking up a role as Institute Director (non-exec.) of the Chartered Insurance Institute, sitting on the board of the Personal Finance Society. Most recently Catharine has been appointed a position on the Disciplinary Committee for Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Catharine served two terms on the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator and is a long-standing trustee of CPotential, a special needs charity.
Professor Christine Watson
Christine is Professor Emeritus of Cell and Cancer Biology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow Emerita of Newnham College Cambridge, where she served as Vice-Principal for three years.
She established her research group at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh and has focused on breast cancer and the developmental biology of the breast for over 30 years. She has a particular interest in stem cells, lactation, and programmed cell death.
She has also an interest in ethics and was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. Christine is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Christine’s term of office starts on 1st May 2023.
Review date: 1 November 2025