The HFEA cash pile

There is nothing wrong with the HFEA being prudent with the money they receive and build-up a substantial cash pile - £3.4 million - enough for 850 rounds of IVF treatment.

The HFEA should not be berated for this, there are unlikely to be many quangos in the same position. Most quangos know how to play the funding game. If you have a surplus you will receive less from government the following year, so spend it or waste it - just don't have a surplus.

However, the way the HFEA receives part of it's funding is fairly unique. They receive £75 from the NHS or private clinics every time a woman has treatment.

There have been calls for the HFEA to return the money. Obviously returning the money to the NHS is a good thing, as long as it is returned to the NHS trusts on the condition that it goes directly back into their IVF and other fertility treatment budgets.

As for returning anything to private clinics - forget it. They already charge a substantial amount for what they do, and will continue to do so. However, that is the nature of all private health care, just look at healthcare costs in the US. For many women it is a cost worth paying for ready and easy access to treatment.

If anything the NHS should stop paying £75 to the HFEA and commit the money directly to their own fertility budgets. Likewise private clinics should pay more to the HFEA and the funds raised should again be re-directed back into NHS fertility budgets.

(The growing success of PollenTree does owe something to the high cost of private IVF treatment and the lack of NHS IVF treatment.)