Patients wanting fertility treatment will face fewer and faster checks to make sure they will be suitable parents under new guidelines issued yesterday.
Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, clinics must make an assessment of the welfare of any child born as a result of fertility treatment before they provide any services.
But doctors and patients have said the current guidance is too cumbersome, bureaucratic and difficult to enforce.
Now the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has revised its guidance which it says will lead to a "fairer and clearer" system of checks.
Under the old guidelines, clinics always have to contact the GP of both partners.
They have to ask for information on factors that may affect the child. The HFEA said that it was removing the automatic need for clinics to contact GPs, as well as the questions about "vague and subjective" social factors.
Instead it will be up to the fertility clinicians to use their professional skills and judgment to focus on areas where there could be serious harm to the child, before seeking further information from a GP if necessary.
They should also assess previous convictions related to harming children.
But parents would have to consent to further checks, such as criminal records checks, being made before the clinic could continue with its assessment.
The new guidance, which follows a wide- ranging consultation, has been welcomed by fertility specialists and doctors.