Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill
To curb and curtail the practices of exploiting the women, the Government of India has also introduced the bill named as Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill, 2021 which was passed by the Lok Sabha on December 1. It was initially introduced in September 2020 but passed now. The bill seeks to regulate Assisted reproductive technology clinics with requisite facilities and registered medical practitioners practicing with the National Medical Commission and banks which is involved in the collection and supply of sperm or semen and oocytes or oocyte donors to the ART clinics. It is done so to regulate ethical practice in a long unregulated sphere. There are guidelines which are laid by the Indian Council of Medical Research which should be kept in mind but since these are only guidelines which is not backed up by the laws, it is often neglected or ignored.
The ART actually refers to all the techniques which attempt to obtain the pregnancy by handling the sperm or the oocyte outside the human body and transferring the gamete or the embryo into the reproductive system of a woman. In India, the ART banks are consistently involved in providing services related to gamete donation, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injections among others.
The bill has been introduced with the objective to curb and curtail the practices which are used in exploiting the women. It aims to set up a National Assisted Technology and Surrogacy Board under the Section 15 of the Surrogacy Act. The Board set up will advice the Central Government , review and monitor the implementation of the passed act and also lay down the code of conduct for the employees of the clinic and banks so that no unethical practice takes place.
It also sets the minimum standards for the infrastructure and other kinds of equipment and manpower and clinics and banks. The job of the Board is to oversee the performance of the bodies created under the actand supervise the functioning of the National Registry. Further, the state assisted reproductive technology board will also be established to aid the National Board at the state level.
The National Registry which will be set up is meant to act as a central database for all the facilities providing ART services in India with state government officials assisting them in the registration process. It also makes the registration mandatory to be renewed every five years and may be cancelled or suspended if an entity contravenes the provisions of the Bill.
Further, it can only be provided after obtaining the written informed consent of the parties seeking the ART services. They will be required to provide insurance from an insurance company which will liable to cover all the damages, complications, specified losses to the oocyte donors which may occur during the procedure. The insurance should also be provided if the death of the donor takes place during the process. The clinics are required to check everything like genetic diseases before planting an embryo so that there is no miss happening later. Also, the clinics are not allowed to provide a child of a pre determined sex. They just can’t do so.
Therefore, the bill is presented with the objective of filling a gap in the regulation of reproductive technology in the country.