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IVF doctor investigated

15th January 2007

03102006_foetus1.jpgTwo clinics, run by the UK's most successful IVF doctor, are under police investigation.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) obtained a court warrant to search the clinics lead by Mohamed Taranissi.  At a news conference, HFEA chief executive Angela McNab said they had been taking regulatory action against Mr Taranissi for some time but that they had been continually challenged by his clinic and lawyers.  However, it is believed that new information was recently given to the HFEA by whistleblowers working at the clinics. Ms McNab said, "Information has continued to come to light and I [have been] able to go to court to secure a warrant. This will allow us to gain unimpeded access to the clinics run by Mr Taranissi."

Mohamed Taranissi is understood to have produced 2,300 babies in seven years and has become known as Britain’s most successful test-tube baby maker.  However, he is believed to have run an unlicensed clinic from December 2005 for almost a year and has been secretly filmed by a BBC Panorama team offering unproven treatment to women, potentially risking their health.

IVF Undercover, which was broadcast Monday 15 January, showed undercover footage from the Assisted Reproductive and Gynaecology Centre (ARGC), run by Mohamed Taranissi, who is believed to be worth £38m. The documentary showed a 26-year-old undercover reporter being offered IVF treatment at ARGC which could cost her up to £10,000 despite neither she nor her partner having any history of fertility problems. The 26-year-old was then offered a series of expensive treatments which experts say have no bearing on fertility.  The Panorama programme also revealed that Mr Taranissi’s second clinic, Reproductive Genetics Institute (RGI), was operating without a license which is a criminal offence. Leading fertility expert, Professor Lord Robert Winston said of the footage, “It makes you weep for the medical profession.?

Mr Taranissi has rejected all the claims made by the BBC documentary team.  In a statement responding to the HFEA inspections Mr Taranissi’s representatives said, “Mr Taranissi is happy to make all records available to the HFEA as he has never had anything to hide.  Mr Taranissi is confident that HFEA checks on his records will lead to them reconfirming what they have always said in the past - that his methods work.?  Mr Taranissi has been allowed to continue practising while the investigations are carried out.  The HFEA have said they will consider the allegations made by the BBC documentary separately.

 

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