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Making a complaint about a fertility clinic

Going through fertility treatment is hard enough – the last thing you need is added stress. If you’re not happy about something your fertility clinic has done (or not done), it’s your right to complain to them. We’re here to help if you’re not happy with the way they’ve handled your complaint.

Step 1: Make your complaint directly to the clinic

If you’re not happy with the service or care at your clinic, you should first make a formal complaint to them.

We advise that you:

  • complain as soon as you can – if you speak to the people involved first, they may be able to sort out your problem quickly
  • think about what you want to say in advance – if you can, talk it through with someone such as a family member or friend, or ask them to read what you've written before you send it
  • be clear about what happened, who was involved, when, where and why you weren’t happy
  • try to make your explanations as short and clear as possible – focus on the main issues and leave out extra details
  • be clear about what you would like them to do to put things right – this could be an apology or changing the way they do things to prevent the same mistake happening again, and
  • if you complain in writing, keep a copy of everything you send and make a note of when you sent it.

Step 2: If you are still not happy

Where the clinic cannot resolve the complaint, they should give you sufficient information about routes to escalate your complaint.

We advise that fertility clinics treating self-funded patients should join an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. Patients treated in an NHS facility or funded by the NHS can access an ADR scheme by submitting complaints to the relevant ombudsman once they have followed the centre’s internal complaints or Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) procedure. You should speak to your clinic about this for more information.

If you’ve been through the clinic’s complaint’s process and you’re still not happy, you can also contact us to see if we can help. Normally, this should be within six months of you becoming aware of the problem. If we think there is more the clinic can do to resolve your complaint, we will send it back to the clinic for a further review.

Please be aware that by law we’re only able to deal with certain complaints. We cannot review specific decisions about your clinical care, nor can we help you obtain a refund or compensation.

In order for us to consider a complaint, you will need to have first exhausted your clinic’s formal complaints procedure. You should ask your clinic for a copy of their complaints policy. For further information on how we handle complaints, please see our complaints policy.

To escalate your complaint to us, please send the details of your complaint, as well as all correspondence with your clinic about your complaint, to our Enquiries team at enquiriesteam@hfea.gov.uk. We are not able to receive complaints by post at this time.

Even if we might not be able to take forward a complaint on your behalf, we will use your feedback to help shape our inspection process. This helps protect others from going through a similar experience.

Additional resources

We understand that making a complaint about your care may be daunting. The following organisations may be able to provide further advice and support when considering raising a complaint:

Review date: 5 January 2026