BENGALURU: The much-awaited ‘Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill’ approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday received a thumbs up from many fertility experts, obstericians and gynaecologists in the city.“The bill is much needed as fertility centres have been mushrooming at every nook and corner. Even small spaces with inadequate facilities call themselves In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) clinics. This is a dangerous trend and definitely needs a regulatory authority and a law to monitor it,” said Dr Devika Gunasheela, a fertility expert at MD Gunasheela Surgical and Maternity Hospital.
The Union Cabinet approved the bill for the regulation of clinics involved in providing reproduction assistance services, such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), artificial insemination and surrogacy. The ART Bill, intends to regulate clinics with the objective of providing safe and ethical reproductive procedures to infertile couples.
“It is a very good move by the government. Currently, no one knows what is happening in the IVF centres across the country. Very few of them register under ICMR and there are many which are run without licences and patients unaware of the consequences fall prey to them,” said Dr Santosh Gupta, fertility consultant at Nova IVF Fertility.
According to experts, the government would now form an apex committee of experts called ‘National Board’ to regulate such clinics. “The National Board shall lay down the code of conduct for people working at such clinics, set the minimum standards of physical infrastructure and manpower at clinics and banks,” a government press release said.
Dr Devika said the bill will hopefully address the age group of women who can take IVF treatments. “Currently, we see cases where women aged 60-65 delivering ‘healthy’ babies. But it is dangerous. In our clinic, we make sure that the age of the women is less than 50 years and meet all required health parameters,” she said.
According to a research conducted by Inito, a Bengaluru-based medical technology company, around 10-15 per cent of married couples in India face infertility. Many of them take services of unregulated ART labs, which include gamete donation, intrauterine insemination (IUI), IVF, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and gestational surrogacy. Once the bill is passed in Parliament, states will constitute their own boards and authorities to regulate and supervise the clinics within three months of its notification by the central government.“The state board shall have the responsibility to follow the policies and plans laid down by the National Board,” the government release stated.
What the Bill proposes
Regulation of clinics which provide in-vitro fertilisation, artificial insemination and surrogacy services
Stringent punishments for practising sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes
Registration authority will maintain a central database and assist the National Board
Egg donor needs to be supported by insurance cover, protected from multiple embryo implantation. Children born through ART should be provided all the rights equivalent to biological children