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IVF clinics selling ineffective “add-on” treatments face fines as part of the biggest shake-up of fertility laws in 30 years.

Julia Chain, the new chairwoman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, is seeking fundamental changes to the 1990 laws that govern the fertility sector. She wants to secure powers for the regulator to fine clinics that mislead patients over the efficacy of their treatments.

Chain, who took over in April, is also seeking to amend the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act to make it easier for same-sex and trans couples, or single people, to access fertility treatment. She also wants to change the rules to allow scientists to use embryos for research beyond the present 14-day limit.

Chain, who believes she has the support of ministers, will announce her plans at the Progress Educational Trust conference on Wednesday. Following a consultation, she hopes to have new legislation drafted by the end of next year.

In a wide-ranging interview, she said that patients who came to clinics for IVF treatment “are vulnerable, they’re often desperate”. Couples yearning to start a family will “do anything” to improve... see more