Context-The Union Cabinet recently approved the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020 to monitor medical procedures used to assist people to achieve pregnancy.
Salient features of Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill
Regulation and Supervision
Bill provides for a national Board which will lay down a code of conduct to be observed by those operating clinics.
National Board will also formulate minimum standards for
- Laboratory and diagnostic equipment
- Practices to be followed by human resources employed by clinics and banks.
The States and Union Territories will also have to form State Boards and State authorities within three months of the notification of the proposed legislation.
A national registry and registration authority will maintain a database to assist the national Board to perform its functions.
The Bill proposes stringent punishment for those who practise sex selection, indulge in sale of human embryos or gametes and those who operate rackets.
The Bill will ensure confidentiality of intending couples and protect the rights of the child.
Assisted Reproductive Technology
- This technology helps couples unable to conceive naturally to bear children to achieve pregnancy, leading to safe delivery.
- ART services include gamete donation, intrauterine insemination (IUI), IVF, ICSI, PGD and gestational surrogacy.
History of employing ART
- In the late 1970s, the world's first ‘test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born.
- Only months after the birth world's first ‘test tube baby,Kolkata-based doctor Subhas Mukherjee announced the birth of the world’s second test tube baby in India.
- Subsequently the ART industry saw phenomenal growth, as infertility rates went up.
Use of ART in India
- India has one of the highest growths in the number ART centres and ART cycles performed every year.
- India has become one of the major centres of this global fertility industry, with reproductive medical tourism becoming a significant activity.
- India due to relatively low costs in ART has seen the mushrooming of ART clinics across the country.
- This has also introduced a plethora of legal, ethical and social issues but still there is no standardisation of protocols and reporting is still very inadequate.
- The ART Bill to regulate clinics offering fertility treatments has been long in the works, and was first presented publicly way back in 2008.
- According to market projection by Fortune Business Insights:The size of the ART market is expected to reach $45 billion by 2026. India’s ART market is pegged at third position among asian countries.
- Together, the ART Bill,the Surrogacy Bill,the amendment to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,and the older Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act present a bouquet of legislation that will have a positive impact on the reproductive rights and choices of women in India.
- The ART Bill,2020 can be considered as the best chance to eliminate exploitation in the concerned field.