This page outlines how to apply for a licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

A licence must be obtained if your research involves the creation of embryos in vitro and/or storing or using embryos (as stipulated in Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008).

Importantly if your research is of this kind, it must relate to one or more of the following purposes (as stipulated in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008).

  • To promote advances in the treatment of infertility
  • To increase knowledge about the causes of congenital diseases
  • To increase knowledge about the cause of miscarriage
  • To develop more effective techniques of contraception
  • The detection of genetic or chromosomal abnormalities before implantation
  • To increase knowledge about the development of embryos
  • To increase knowledge about serious disease

The HFEA recommends that you seek ethics approval before applying to the HFEA to ensure the licence covers the approved research activity.  However, you can obviously discuss your licence application with the HFEA at any stage – the JRCO recommend doing so as early as possible as licence approval can take upto 3 months (approx).

You need to contact the HFEA to discuss your licence application and then complete and submit the application form to the HFEA Regulation Department with an administration fee. The HFEA Regulation Department will then initiate peer review of your application and you will receive formal confirmation of the decision.

For more information please visit the HFEA website