The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2021, was recently passed in the Lok Sabha.
The law excluded living couples, single men, and the LGBTQ community.
- The government has been working on regulatory legislation in the ART trade since 2008, when it was first outlined by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- The bill was first submitted at Lok Sabha in 2020, but the House of Representatives referred it to the Standing Committee.
Domestic registration and registration office:
- The bill provides national registrations and registration offices for all the medical professionals working in this area.
- This helps maintain a database of all clinics and medical professionals working in this area.
- The state government appoints a registration authority to facilitate the registration process.
- Registration is valid for up to five years and can be extended for another five years.
Regulating ART services:
It aims to regulate and supervise assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinics and ART banks, prevent abuse, and establish safe and ethical practices.
National Board of Directors:
The bill proposes forming a national organization. The board sets minimum standards for the physical infrastructure of clinics and banks, laboratories, diagnostic equipment and professional staff.
It also demands strict punishment for finding gender choices, people practising the sale of human embryos or gametes, or practices, institutions, thugs and organizations that violate the law.
- For first-time criminals: There may be a penalty between Fifty thousand rupees and One Lac rupees.
- In case of later violation: The accused will be sentenced to 8 to 12 years in prison and a fine of 10 to 20 rupees.
- Clinics or banks that promote or provide Sex-Selective ART: They will be punished by imprisonment with a work penalty of 5 to 10 years and/or a fine of 10 to 25 rupees
- To standardize the protocol: There are many such unregulated ART clinics, which affect the health of the person performing the procedure. Without regulation, unethical practices increase.
- To protect women and children: Egg donors (ovarian cells) must be covered by insurance. The implantation of multiple embryos needs to be regulated, and children born through ART need to be protected.
- Discrimination inaccessibility: The bill allows married heterosexual couples and women over the age of marriage to use ART, allowing single men, cohabiting heterosexual couples, and LGBTQ + people and couples to access ART.
- Duplicacy: The surrogacy and ART laws create multiple registries, creating duplicates and, worse, a lack of regulation. For example, a surrogacy clinic does not need to report a surrogacy to a nationally registered good.
- Violation of Article 14: The bill violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution and does not mention children's rights. According to Article 14, equality before the law and equal legal protection cannot be denied to any person in India.
- Service cost: The cost of the procedure should be effectively monitored so that the poor can also benefit from the service.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
- ART is used to treat infertility.
- This includes fertility drugs that treat both female eggs and male sperm. It functions by separating the eggs from the female body and mixing them with sperm to make an embryo.
- The embryo is then returned to the female body.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common and effective type of ART. ART procedures may use donor eggs, sperm, or previously frozen embryos.
- Earlier versions of the bill managed research on embryos that needed to be returned, and the definitions of "couple," "infertility," "ART clinic," and "bank" were between the bill and the surrogacy bill (ordinance).
- All ART agencies should be bound by the instructions of the central and state governments in national interests, foreign friendships, public order and morals, etiquette and morals.
- All constitutional, medical, ethical and regulatory concerns raised by the bill must be thoroughly reviewed before affecting millions of people.