Fertility services – Update 3 May 2024

Homerton Healthcare continues to work with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in investigating issues relating to the storage of embryos in the Trust’s fertility unit.

There have been three incidents within the unit which have highlighted problems in some freezing processes. This has resulted in the tragic loss of a number of embryos, either not surviving, or being undetectable altogether. The unit’s licence was suspended on March 8 2024.

On Thursday 2 May 2024, the HFEA confirmed that the suspension remains in place while the investigations are still ongoing. The Trust is focused on continuing its investigations and putting alternative treatment in place for patients, where appropriate.

New Chief Executive Bas Sadiq said: "We want to apologise again for the worry and distress these incidents have caused our patients. We are focused on continuing our investigations and doing everything we can to learn from and rectify the issues which have caused the loss of embryos in the fertility unit.

Each of the incidents occurred last year and were immediately reported to the HFEA.

Patient care

We understand that due to the current suspension of services at the Homerton Fertility Centre, patients may wish to transfer their care elsewhere.  We are currently working hard with our clinical and legal teams to make sure that any such transfers are undertaken safely and in line with the strict criteria and legislation in place, so that we can minimise any risks related to transfers and ensure that all paperwork is completed correctly. 

We understand that any delays are distressing, and we would like to apologise to patients for this. We aim to be in a position to have responded to all queries as quickly as possible. We will be prioritising patients where timing is critical, taking advice from our clinicians and want to reassure our patients that our teams are working hard to ensure everything is undertaken safely. 

Members of our team will be contacting patients directly to progress queries and actions needed.

Update on investigations

The total number of patients confirmed to be affected by the incidents is 32. This number is subject to change as our investigations continue and the Trust will provide another update once the investigations into the incidents are complete.
The Trust has completed duty of candour for all affected patients.

The Trust appointed external experts, and informed the HFEA of their appointment, to investigate the incidents. The Trust has made the followingchanges in the unit:

1.    All our staff now work in pairs to ensure all clinical activities are checked by two healthcare professionals.

2.    We have re-checked all competencies of staff within the unit.

3.    We have increased the security and access points in the unit.

The investigation into the third incident, which occurred at the end of 2023, is ongoing. 

The Trust is exploring every possible cause for issues with the storing of embryos. As well as alerting the regulator, the three incidents have also been reported to the police. On the 8 March officers from the Metropolitan Police attended Homerton Fertility Clinic after concerns were raised by the Trust. There is no police investigation at this time.

Support available

Over 200 patients have contacted us via our helpline, email or contacting the unit directly. We are currently seeking alternative centres for patients booked with us. 

The Trust Helpline: 020 8510 5211 is open 9am to 5pm Monday – Friday (closed on bank holidays and weekends) to answer any queries or concerns that patients may have.


The HFEA minutes of its licencing committee have been published in the Reports Archive here: Clinic profile for Homerton Fertility Centre | HFEA and provide further detail on the three incidents:

1.  Incident A (reported in May 2023) - the correct procedure had not been followed whilst placing frozen embryos into storage.

2.  Incident B (reported in October 2023) - some embryos frozen and cryostored at the centre displayed a lower rate of embryo thawing survival rate.

3.  Incident C (reported in December 2023) some embryos were not found on the cryo straw during embryo thaw