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Reprod Biomed Online. 2013 Apr;26(4):310-2. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2013.01.011. Epub 2013 Jan 26.

The HFEA in context.

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Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.


While the regulatory role of the HFEA, its independence and its shortcomings are debated in the context of a fiscal economic crisis, the larger sociological importance of the Authority may be overlooked. Harder to calculate than its annual budget and more elusive than its technical remit as a licensing body, the cultural value of the HFEA as a historical and symbolic entity that was born out of a pioneering debate unique to the UK must be included in a discussion of its future role. Against its perceived shortcomings as an expensive and outdated quango is the importance of the Authority as a public instrument for enhancing the future of translational bioscience. From this point of view, the HFEA is crucial not only to ensuring the successful realization of a domestic bioscience agenda but also to protecting the international reputation of UK Plc as a best-practice model of publicly supported bioinnovation.

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