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Role details

Member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)

Application deadline 14 February 2024


Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
Sponsor department
Department of Health and Social Care
Health and Social Care
Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Business, Change Management, Commercial, Communication, Media, Marketing, Human Resources, Insurance, International Experience, Technology / Digital, Legal, Judicial, Major Projects, Procurement, Regulation, Retail, Transformation, Cyber Security, Consumer Advocacy, Casework and Complaints Handling, Social Care, Education
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
3 day(s) per month
£7883 per annum
Length of term
Ministers will determine the length of the appointment, which will be up to 3 years
Application deadline
Midday on 14 February 2024

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Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    31 January 2024

  2. Application deadline

    Midday on 14 February 2024

  3. Sifting date

    29 February 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    26 March 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


Ministers are looking to appoint one Professional and three Lay Members to the board of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).  

Introduction from the Chair

Introduction from Julia Chain, Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)
The HFEA has been the UK's regulator of fertility treatment and embryo research for over 30 years, created to make policy and regulate standards as the fertility sector developed following the birth of the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. We are one of the few UK wide regulators, overseeing treatment in both the NHS and private sector.
It is a huge privilege to be a Board member of this internationally renowned and respected organisation and to be able to contribute to policy and licensing decisions in such an innovative and ethically contested area of medicine. 
We are a small body with around 80 staff, but we monitor global scientific developments which could become patient treatment in the years to come, make policy and advise Ministers, Parliament, and Government, alongside our core functions of setting standards, licensing research projects and treatment clinics and maintaining a register of all UK fertility treatments, the largest database of its kind in the world. 
We are developing a new strategy for 2025-2028 and you will have an opportunity to help shape this over the coming year.
Your role as a Board member would be to actively participate on the Authority and in committee work as we support pioneering science and fertility medicine but, above all, do our utmost to uphold and improve standards in fertility treatment so that as many people as possible can achieve their much longed-for family. The HFEA is at the heart of creating life, and I am constantly reminded what a privileged role our Board members have and how interesting and rewarding our work is. 
Our lay and professional Members bring a huge variety of experience and expertise to their role from genetics, fertility medicine, counselling, life sciences and research, communications and the media, faith, ethics, and the law. If you are successful in your application, you would have the chance to contribute your personal expertise towards our new vision. We want to see everyone receive the best possible care and the right information at the right time. As science and society advance, the HFEA needs to shape and respond to future changes in the legislative landscape and the changing fields of modern family creation, genetics, and artificial intelligence and the use of data. 
I have chaired the HFEA since April 2021, and in this time, I have been impressed at the organisation’s reputation as a body that enables innovation to flourish within a robust ethical framework. The breadth of work the HFEA covers means the role of a Member is fascinating and your contribution could make a real difference to many people for years to come.
Introduction from Catharine Seddon, Member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). 
“For me, the HFEA board serves at the heart of creating life. As NEDS, our job, first and foremost, is to protect people at one of the most vulnerable times of their life: when they need help to achieve a much longed-for family. In all our work - whether raising standards in fertility care, licensing innovative treatments or making policy in ethically charged areas, I feel a huge sense of responsibility to the public and therefore an equal sense of reward. This Board really matters.”

Role description

Members are required to build and retain public and professional confidence in the regulation of fertility treatment and embryo research and to play a key part in the effective and successful governance of the HFEA.
Specifically, to:
  • support the Chair and the Executive in setting the strategic direction of the HFEA, and review this on a regular basis in light of developments in the external and internal environments.
  • support the Chair and the Executive in developing the HFEA in-line with the organisation’s strategic aims while maintaining a positive, constructive, and appropriate relationship with its stakeholders in both the public and private sector. 
  • provide an independent view, a substantive contribution, and constructive challenge at Authority meetings and sub committees; and 
  • monitor the performance of the HFEA’s Executive, holding it to account for the delivery of the HFEA’s business plan, HM Treasury and Department of Health and Social Care requirements.
To be classified as a Professional member you must fulfil one of the following categories: 
  • be a registered medical practitioner; or
  • be concerned with the keeping or using of sperm, eggs, or embryos outside the body; or
  • be directly concerned with commissioning or funding research involving the keeping or use of sperm, eggs, or embryos or to have actively participated in any decision to do so.

Organisation description

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is the UK-wide independent regulator for fertility treatment and embryo research. The HFEA was established by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (the ‘Act’). The Act sets out prohibitions relating to the creation, use, and storage of human embryos and human admixed embryos, and the use and storage of human gametes.

In 2007, as a result of the implementation of three EU Directives setting quality and safety standards for human tissue and cells intended for human application, the HFEA’s remit was extended to cover licensing and regulation of donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation and distribution of gametes and embryos. The UK’s exit from the EU means that this relationship is changing going forward, although the UK’s high standards will remain.

The HFEA has the power to license the following activities in the course of providing fertility treatment (for example, in vitro fertilisation (IVF)):

  • bringing about the creation of a human embryo outside the body;
  • procuring, keeping, testing, processing or distributing human embryos;
  • procuring, keeping, testing, processing or distributing gametes;
  • using human embryos for training others in embryological techniques;
  • ensuring human embryos are in a suitable condition to be used in treatment;
  • placing human embryos in a woman;
  • carrying out testing of sperm;
  • other activities specified in regulations.

The HFEA can also license activities as part of a project of research involving human embryos (and human admixed embryos), provided they are necessary or desirable for:

  • increasing knowledge about serious disease or other serious medical conditions;
  • developing treatments for serious disease or other serious medical conditions;
  • increasing knowledge about the causes of congenital disease or congenital medical conditions;
  • promoting advances in the treatment of infertility;
  • increasing knowledge about the causes of miscarriage;
  • developing more effective techniques of contraception;
  • developing methods for detecting the presence of gene, chromosome, or mitochondrion abnormalities in embryos before implantation;
  • increasing knowledge about the development of embryos so long as the use of an embryo is necessary.

The HFEA can also grant licences for the procurement and distribution of sperm while providing non-medical fertility services and for the storage of gametes and embryos.

Ethical Safeguards

The Act contains several ethical safeguards; some of which are described here. The principle of informed consent is key in that gametes, embryos and other human tissue, the use of which is governed by the Act, can only be used for treatment or research purposes with the informed and clearly expressed consent of the person(s) providing the tissue. Where such consent cannot be given, in a very limited number of circumstances, use of the tissue can only take place if strict conditions can be met.

The restrictions of the use of human embryos in treatment and research and of particular techniques in assisted reproduction underpin the licensing provisions in the Act.

Clinics must assess the welfare of any child that might be born as a result of treatment, or any existing child that may be affected, as part of the process of determining a patient’s suitability for treatment.

Licensing and Inspection

There are currently 107 HFEA-licensed establishments providing treatments, related services, or carrying out embryo research. Every licence designates an individual who has the responsibility under the Act for the proper operation of the establishment and its compliance with the Act, all licence conditions, and the HFEA’s Code of Practice. This individual is described as the Person Responsible.

The Act requires the HFEA to carry out an inspection of all licensed establishments at least once every two years. The HFEA inspection team evaluate and monitor:

  • premises, equipment, and facilities;
  • laboratory processes;
  • documentation, including standard patient information;
  • the ability of the establishment to provide the services it offers;
  • the suitability of the person responsible and staff providing the services.

As part of its licensing function, the HFEA also assesses applications from establishments to use novel or adjusted treatment techniques and to test embryos for the presence of inheritable genetic conditions. Pre-implantation genetic testing for monogenic disorders (PGT-M)  is a technique used to screen embryos before implantation, as part of an IVF treatment cycle, to exclude those with a serious genetic condition. The procedure is intended to help couples at risk of passing on a serious inheritable genetic condition to their offspring. None of these activities can take place without the HFEA’s prior approval.

Linked to its regulatory functions, the Act enables the HFEA to issue directions and requires it to maintain a Code of Practice setting out standards of practice for the delivery of treatments, fertility services, and embryo research that all licensed clinics and research centres are required to observe.

 Key non-licensing functions

There are a number of functions carried out by the HFEA that are not part of the licensing process but are integral to fulfilling the aims set out in legislation:

Maintaining Registers: The Act requires the HFEA to keep registers, notably one that records every treatment cycle, patient, gamete/embryo donor and all resulting offspring. The Act also sets out the circumstances in which identifying information held on this register may be disclosed to third parties.

Sharing research information: The administration of a scheme for researchers to apply to receive access to identifying information held on the treatment register where it is not practicable to obtain consent to the disclosure from the persons to whom the information relates.

Providing information: The HFEA has a statutory duty to provide a range of information to stakeholders, including patients and licensed establishments. The HFEA does this by:

  • publishing advice and information for patients and the public about fertility treatments and services, such as ratings for treatment add-ons.
  • providing information and guidance for licensed establishments and healthcare professionals on topical issues via bulletins and also Chair’s letters;
  • responding to individual queries, verbally and in writing, from the fertility and wider healthcare sectors and the public

The HFEA is funded by licence fees, IVF treatment fees and a grant from UK central government with an expenditure of over £7 million.

Further information on the HFEA and what it does can be found at:

Board composition

HFEA board meetings take place six times a year on a Wednesday. Please note for 2024, the Authority will meet at the below location with upcoming meeting dates from May as follows:
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)
2nd Floor, 2 Redman Place
E20 1JQ
15th May 2024
3rd July 2024
25th September 2024
20th November 2024

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Person specification

Essential criteria

To be considered, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the qualities, skills, and experience to meet all the essential criteria for appointment.
For all four roles:
  • ability to provide effective scrutiny and challenge to the Executive and to hold them to account for the delivery of performance and the delivery of its strategy. 
  • ability to think strategically and to exercise sound judgement on complex and sensitive issues. 
  • have the highest standards of personal propriety in relation to governance, accountability, risk, and financial management.
and have a background or expertise in one of the following areas:
For the professional member role:
  • a background as a clinical embryologist with senior level experience in a fertility field or in a field closely related to fertility. 
For the three lay member roles:
  • a person with experience as a patient voice or advocate. 
  • a person with expertise in medical, family, or regulatory law; and, 
  • a person with a background in genetics or statistics but cannot be on the GMC register (either active or in the past) or who works with human embryos. 

Application and selection process

How to apply

Thank you for your interest in the appointment of a Professional and Lay Member

The Department of Health and Social Care's Honours and ALB Public Appointments Unit is managing this recruitment campaign. 

In order to apply you will need to create an account or sign in on the 'Apply for a public appointment' website. 

Once you are logged into your account, click on 'apply for this role' and follow the on-screen instructions. To apply, all candidates are required to provide:

  • a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • a supporting statement (2 page limit) setting out how you meet the criteria for appointment as set out in the person specification for the role. 
  • equality information
  • information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues

Guidance on what to include in your CV/Supporting Statement and tips for applying can be found in the corresponding sections below and on the public appointment website: Public appointments - GOV.UK (

We will ask you to check and confirm your personal details to ensure your application is accurate.

You will also have the opportunity to make a reasonable adjustment request or apply under the disability confident scheme before you submit your application.

You will also be required to make any declarations related to standards in public life and ensuring public confidence in your Supporting Statement.  Further information on this can be found in the relevant section below.
If you are unable to create an account and apply online, or if you have any problems submitting your application online, please contact Karen Dinsdale on 0113 2545414. 

The Advisory Assessment Panel reserves the right to only consider applications that contain all of the elements listed above, and that arrive before the published deadline for applications.

In completing an application, please firstly note the following in relation to:

  • Disqualification from appointment
  • Outside interests and reputational issues: Conflicts of interest
  • Outside interests and reputational issues: Political Activity and social media
  • Standards in public life and ensuring public confidence.

Overview of the application process

Public appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. We will deal with your application as quickly as possible and will keep you informed at key stages. We aim to conclude the appointment process within three months of the deadline for applications – this is in accordance with the Governance Code.

The assessment process

  1. Ministers are responsible and accountable to Parliament for the public appointments made within their department. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.

  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed by Ministers to assist them in their decision making. The role of the Panel is to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.

  3. At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Ministers, you will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted. Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

  5. The Panel will meet again to interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  6. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. It is then for Ministers to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, Ministers may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.

  7. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  8. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAP’s perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.

The panel will include

Amanda Davies, Deputy Director of Health Ethics NHS Quality, DHSC as Panel Chair
Julia Chain, HFEA Chair, as Panel Member
Dr Caterina Milo, Lecturer in Law, University of Sheffield as Panel Member
Professor Gary Crowe, as Independent Panel Member

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment. There are a small number of specialist roles that are not open to non-British citizens. Any nationality requirements will be specified in the vacancy details.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director  (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);

  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;

  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors.

In addition, legislation related to HFEA sets out how individuals are disqualified from appointment as a HFEA Member. You are or may be disqualified, subject to the exact provisions set out in legislation, from being on the board of the HFEA if you:
  • Are a member of the House of Commons or the NI Assembly
  • Are subject to the relevant bankruptcy orders or your estate has been sequestered by a court in Scotland or you have made a composition or arrangement with or granted a trust deed for your creditors in Northern Ireland or Scotland. 
  • Have been convicted of an offence in the last five years in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man 
  • Have received a sentence of imprisonment of at least 3 months (whether suspended or not) without the option of a fine.
  • You are the chairperson or a non-officer member of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority.
The above is only intended to act as a summary and you should consider the full legislation, which is attached for your ease at Annex A within the Candidate Information Pack. 

When you apply, you should declare if:

  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 

  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 

When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below)
If you need further advice, please contact

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life. These are:
  1. Selflessness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
  2. Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  3. Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  4. Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  5. Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  6. Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.
  7. Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for the term set out in this advert, with the possibility of re-appointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, the total time served in post will not exceed more than two terms or serve in any one post for more than ten years

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid. 
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. However these payments are taxable as earnings and will be subject to tax and national insurance, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid.  

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon the end of your term of appointment because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
Please contact the DHSC Public Appointments Team public in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
The DHSC privacy notice can be found at DHSC privacy notice - GOV.UK.

Contact details

For further information regarding the role of the (HFEA) and the role of a Member please contact:

Name: Steve Pugh

Tel:  020 72104350