Department of Health

COVID-19 – Advice to applicants

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from 24 March 2020 until further notice:

  • All applications and inquiries to the Patient Review Panel (the Panel) must be made via email:
  • Hearings will continue and will be held via videoconference.
  • Applicants will be advised of the process for videoconference hearings once a date for the hearing of their application has been fixed.
  • Applicants should provide copies of their applications to their assisted reproductive treatment (ART) clinics.
  • If applicants have any concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on their current or future treatment, please contact your ART clinic.

Key messages

  • The Patient Review Panel (the Panel) conducts scheduled hearings at least once a month but sometimes twice a month.
  • Panel hearings fill up quickly so it is recommended to lodge applications at least 6-8 weeks in advance.
  • Hearings are conducted with as little formality and technicality as possible.
  • The Panel can arrange an interpreter for hearings if required.

Information about hearings

Frequency and format

The Panel holds regular hearings every month to consider applications except for January. Panel hearings are not open to the public.

Panel hearings are conducted as simply and as straightforward as possible.

Applicants are entitled to be present, to make submissions and have a support person with them.

Attendance at the hearing

With the exception of most storage applications, every party to an application should attend the hearing.

For example in a surrogacy application, this would be:

  • both commissioning parents
  • the surrogate mother and her partner (if she has one)
  • any donors and their partners.

If, for whatever reason, a party to an application is unable or does not want to attend their hearing date, then the Panel should be advised, via email to as soon as possible.

However, if they don't attend their hearing, it is possible their application may not be approved. Alternatively, their hearing may be adjourned to a more suitable hearing date if the Panel is not able to make a decision in their absence.

There is no right to legal representation at a Panel hearing unless prior leave has been granted by the Panel. Requests for legal representation should be made in writing to the Chairperson via email to

Applicants should note that the Panel is bound by the rules of natural justice. This means that any person who may be affected by a decision of the Panel has the opportunity of a fair and unbiased hearing before the decision is made.

The Panel is not, however, bound by the rules of evidence, which means that it may inform itself in any way it thinks fit.

Requests for an interpreter

The Panel can arrange for an interpreter at a hearing to assist applicants from non-English speaking backgrounds. An interpreter must be provided through a professional agency and not by a support person.

A request must be made prior to the hearing date, and the Panel will pay for any costs involved.

Review process and further information

Upon receipt, your application will be reviewed by Panel staff and you will be advised whether any additional information or documents are required.

In addition please note:

  • Panel staff may also liaise directly with your clinic regarding your application.
  • The Panel receives a high volume of applications. There can be a wait of up to three months (sometimes more depending on the caseload of the Panel at the time of scheduling), before your matter is listed for hearing.
  • Incomplete applications or applications that are not yet ready to be listed for hearing will not be allocated a hearing date, nor is it possible to reserve a hearing date in advance.
  • Applicants to the Panel can request an Out-of-Session hearing at short notice if they require urgent assisted reproductive treatment for a medical reason. This request should be in writing via email to and supported by a letter from a doctor.

Panel hearing dates 2023

  • Monday 13 February 2023 – FULL
  • Thursday 23 February 2023
  • Wednesday 15 March 2023
  • Tuesday 4 April 2023
  • Friday 28 April 2023
  • Monday 15 May 2023
  • Friday 2 June 2023

Reviewed 06 January 2023


Contact details

The Panel is currently contactable ONLY via email

Patient Review Panel

Was this page helpful?