The lower house of parliament recently passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2020, which aims to make the practice of assisted reproduction technologies (ART) safe and ethical across the country. Importantly, the government also passed the Lok Sabha Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2019 in August 2019, but prevented it from presenting it to the Rajya Sabha after the select committee recommended that the government first pass the ART bill. and only then move forward with the surrogacy bill, the Indian Express reported.
Surrogacy vs ART
The Surrogacy Bill seeks to regulate the practice of surrogacy when infertile parents seek help from a third woman, also known as a surrogate mother. On the other hand, in ART technology, the infertile couple can become parents without necessarily being helped by a third person. In accordance with the provisions of the Surrogate Motherhood Bill, the practice will only be available to Indian married couples who exclude living partners, single women and foreigners. The government issued a notification in 2015 banning the practice for foreigners, OCI or PIO cardholders, but allowed Indian NRI citizens to avail the service. On the other hand, the ART service can be used not only by foreigners but also by living partners, single women, foreigners among others.
According to data from the Union Ministry of Health, the practice of ART is more prevalent in India than surrogacy, as only 1,000 clinics are involved in the latter service while more than 40,000 clinics use surrogacy. technology ART.
Why has the government introduced the ART bill?
India has become one of the fastest growing centers for ART service and attracts many medical tourists from different countries of the world. Gamete donation, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection and preimplantation genetic diagnosis are part of the range of services grouped under the banner of the ART service. The bill aims to put in place standard protocols, rules and regulations for the healthy growth of this service in the country.
The ART bank has been defined as an organization that provides sperm, oocytes or egg donors to ART clinics or to interested parents. According to the provisions of the bill, ART services can be used by women over the legal age of marriage and under the age of 50. Likewise, ART services can be used by men under the age of 55 who have reached the legal age for marriage.
The bill provides for the creation of three organizations, namely the National Council, the National Register and the Registration Authority. The National Council will advise the government on policy matters, determine the infrastructure standards for ART services, and coordinate with state councils. The National Registry will keep records of all ART clinics and ART banks in a centralized database and assist the National Council by providing the necessary data. The registration authority, on the other hand, will emerge as the authority to grant, suspend or cancel the license of an ART clinic, investigate regulatory violations and advise the National Council on changing the regulations or provisions. existing on the ART service.
What rules must clinics follow?
In addition to ensuring that the sponsoring couple is eligible for the ART service, clinics should also provide counseling, educating couples about the pros, cons, side effects, and other important factors. The sponsoring couple must also be informed of the rights of the child born thanks to the ART and guarantee the confidentiality of the data at one hundred percent. The bill specifies that the child generated by the ART service will be entitled to all the rights and privileges that a naturally born child obtains from its parents. The donor, if involved in the ART process, will have to relinquish all parental rights over the child.