Homerton Infertility Service

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Sent on behalf of NHS England

Dear colleagues,

We are writing to update you following the suspension on 8 March 2024 of Homerton Healthcare Fertility Unit’s license to practice until May 2024.

The suspension is a result of concerns about three incidents in the unit, which have resulted in the tragic loss of a number of embryos – either not surviving or being undetectable. Each of the incidents occurred in 2023 and were immediately reported to the HFEA. We were made aware of the incidents as soon as they were reported and have been working with Homerton to understand the issues and what improvements need to be made as a result.

Homerton is continuing to work alongside the HFEA and also is investigating the incidents. During this time, the fertility unit has been put under “Special Direction”. The direction allows for all current patients who are undergoing treatment to complete it, and for all embryos, eggs and sperm to continue to be stored in the clinic. However, the clinic is unable to accept new referrals – please see below for guidance on what this means for current patients, existing referrals and new referrals.

We are working with the HFEA and NHS England to support the Homerton and to ensure that we implement any recommendations that come out of external investigations. 

Please note that we are developing a list of Q&A’s and will upload them to the GP intranet as soon as possible.

What does this mean for current patients?

Each of the patients affected by the incidents has been contacted by the unit’s clinical team and, where appropriate, they are discussing future treatment options with these patients.

In addition, Homerton has sent a letter to all their fertility patients apologising for the concern they may have caused, even if their embryos, eggs or sperm are unaffected.

If your patients have any queries or concerns or you have queries relating to the current treatment of any of your patients, please email huh-tr.fertility.unit@nhs.net.

What does this mean for existing referrals?

If you have already referred a patient to the Homerton Healthcare Fertility Unit, but they have not yet started treatment Homerton will be supporting the patients to find alternative providers for the treatment. If a patient has not yet been contacted by Homerton, please email huh-tr.fertility.unit@nhs.net.

What does this mean for new referrals?

Until further notice, please do not refer any new patients to the Homerton Healthcare Fertility Unit. Please discuss alternative treatment options with your patients. We are working with other providers to manage capacity across north east London and will endeavour to ensure all eligible patients receive treatment in a timely manner.

Below is the list of other Trusts that patients across north east London have traditionally used:

Referrals can also be made to the following London providers, with whom NHS North East London hold contracts:

If patients would like advice about which provider to be referred to, the HFEA website may be helpful.

How to refer

EMIS form

Referral method: e-Referrals

GPs in Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest should complete the standard referral form on EMIS and send it via e-Referrals – the form applies to all boroughs and all providers.

Referrals will normally only be accepted by providers if they are made using this form. If you are unsure of the referral pathway, please refer to the Fertility Assessment and Treatment Pathway.

Please refer to the north east London fertility policy for eligibility criteria.

Note that the form applies to NHS referrals only. Providers sometimes have different eligibility criteria for self-funders.

Next steps for the Homerton Healthcare Fertility Unit

Homerton has appointed external experts, with the support of the HFEA, to investigate the incidents. The Trust has made the following changes in the unit to prevent recurrence of such incidents:

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

All competencies of staff within the unit have been re-checked.

There has been enhanced security in the unit.

The investigation into the third incident, which occurred at the end of 2023, is ongoing, and Homerton is exploring every possible cause for the problems that have occurred. 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.

Who to contact for more information

For queries relating to the current treatment of any of your patients, please email huh-tr.fertility.unit@nhs.net

For queries relating to referrals, please email nelondonicb.fertility@nhs.net

The Homerton Infertility Service provides:

  • cycle tracking
  • ovulation induction 
  • intra-uterine insemination (IUI) using partner's sperm 
  • in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) 
  • intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) 
  • donor Sperm treatments (IUI/IVF-ICSI)
  • egg, embryo and sperm freezing for cancer patients (fertility preservation)
  • frozen embryo replacement
  • embryo freezing 
  • sperm freezing 
  • surgical sperm recovery 
  • andrology service
  • counselling

More information on the service can be found here: https://www.homerton.nhs.uk/fertility/  

Eligibility criteria


The inclusion criteria including age, lifestyle factors and children from previous relationships can be found in the City and Hackney fertility policy (see Downloads). 

External Links