The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Billwill regulate ART services, which is essential to protect the affected women and children from exploitation. On 19th February 2020, the Union Cabinet approved the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said.This follows the introduction in Parliament of the Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2020, and the approval of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill 2020.The Bill intends to regulate ART clinics with the objective of providing “safe and ethical” reproductive procedures to infertile couples.
Background of the bill:
According to research conducted by Inito, a Bengaluru-based medical technology company, around 10-15 per cent of married couples in India, or about 27.5 million couples, face infertility. Such couples end up taking the services of unregulated ART labs, which include gamete donation, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), IVF, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), and gestational surrogacy.
Assisted Reproductive Technology has grown rapidly in last few years in our country. India has one of the highest growth in the ART centers and the number of ART cycles performed every year. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), including In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), has given hope to a multitude of persons suffering from infertility, but also introduced a plethora of legal, ethical and social issues. Clinics in India offer nearly all the ART services—gamete donation, intrauterine insemination (IUI), IVF, ICSI, PGD and gestational surrogacy. However, in spite of so much activity in India, there is no standardization of protocols and very inadequate reporting. The need to regulate the Assisted Reproductive Technology Services is mainly to protect the affected Women and the Children from exploitation. “The oocyte donor (egg donor) needs to be supported by an insurance cover, protected from multiple embryo implantation, and children born through ART should be provided all rights equivalent to biological children,”government said.
The major benefit of the Act would be that it will regulate the Assisted Reproductive Technology services in the country. Consequently, infertile couples will be more ensured/confident of the ethical practices in ARTs. It seeks to safeguard the reproductive rights of women. The government, in a press release, called the ART Regulation Bill “historic” for the welfare of women in the country.
Provisions of the bill:
After bill is passed, the national board is constituted which will lay down a code of conduct and set minimum standards of physical infrastructure, laboratory and diagnostic equipment and expert manpower to be employed by clinics and banks.
The Bill has provision for constitution of state board and state authorities, which will be constituted by the State and Union Government within three months. The Bill also provides for National Registry and Registration Authority to maintain a central database and assist the National Board in its functioning. It proposes stringent punishment for sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes, and agencies/rackets/organizations behind such unlawful practices.
The State Board will have responsibility to follow the policies and plans laid by the National Board for clinics and Banks in the State. The Bill also provides for National Registry and Registration Authority to maintain a Central database and assist the National Board in its functioning. The Bill also proposes for a stringent punishment for those practicing sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes, running agencies/rackets/organizations for such unlawful practices.
The bill also proposes stringent punishments for those practicing sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes, and running agencies, rackets or organizations for such unlawful practices.
It also provides for the national registry of these clinics. The registration authority will maintain a central database and assist the National Board in its functioning.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
( hereinafter ART Bill)