Title : ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY (REGULATION) BILL 2020
Date : Dec 04, 2021
Based on a News Article published in the ‘The Hindu’ on 03rd December 2021 on Page Number 6
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Why is it in the news:
- The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2021, was just passed by the Lok Sabha.
- Live-in couples, single men, and members of the LGBTQ community are all exempt from the measure.
- Since 2008, when the Indian Council of Medical Research originally proposed the bill to regulate the ART business, the government has been working on it (ICMR).
- The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2020, but it was referred to a standing committee by the House.
Concerning the Bill:
- The law proposes the creation of a national registry and registration body for all clinics and medical professionals working in the field.
- It will aid in the maintenance of a database of all clinics and medical personnel in the field.
- To make the registration procedure easier, state governments will appoint registration authorities.
- The registration will be valid for five years, with the option to renew for another five.
Control ART Services:
- It aims to regulate and monitor Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) clinics and banks, as well as to avoid misuse and to follow safe and ethical procedures.
- The bill recommends that a national board be established.
- The board will establish minimum requirements for clinics and banks in terms of physical infrastructure, laboratory, diagnostic equipment, and professional manpower.
- It also wants harsh punishment for individuals who engage in sex selection, the sale of human embryos or gametes, or those who are caught running agencies, rackets, or organisations that engage in such procedures in violation of the law.
- For first-time offenders, a penalty of between Rs. 5 lakhs and Rs. 10 lakhs may be imposed.
- Punishable by imprisonment for a period of eight to twelve years and a fine of between Rs. ten and Rs. twenty lakh.
- Any clinic or bank that advertises or offers sex-selective ART is subject to a sentence of five to ten years in prison, a fine of Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh, or both.
Protocols must be standardised:
- There are numerous such ART facilities that operate without regulation, posing a risk to the health of people who undergo the process.
- If there is no regulation, unethical behaviour will become more prevalent.
- Women and children must be protected.
- An insurance policy is required for the oocyte (a cell in the ovary) donor.
- The implantation of many embryos must be regulated, and children born through ART must be protected.
- Accessibility Discrimination: The Bill enables a married heterosexual couple and a woman above the age of marriage to use ARTs, but not single men, cohabiting heterosexual couples, or LGBTQ+ persons and couples.
- Redundancy: Both the Surrogacy and the ART Bills will create various registration bodies, resulting in duplication or, worse, a lack of regulation.
- Surrogacy clinics, for example, are not obligated to register surrogacy to the National Registry.
- Article 14 of India's constitution is violated by the bill, which is also silent on children's rights.
- Equality before the law and equal protection under the law cannot be denied to anyone in India, according to Article 14.
- Cost of Services: The procedure's cost should be closely monitored so that even the poor can benefit from it.
About ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology):
- Infertility is treated with ART.
- Fertility therapies that work with both a woman's egg and a man's sperm are included.
- It creates embryos by extracting eggs from a woman's body and mixing them with sperm.
- After that, the embryos are implanted back into the woman's body.
- The most popular and efficient type of ART is in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
- Donor eggs, donor sperm, and previously frozen embryos are sometimes used in ART operations.
- It may also involve the use of a surrogate mother.
- Ethics committees must be present at Way Forward Clinics, and mandated counselling services must be separate from them.
- Prior versions of the Bill restricted embryonic research, which must be reinstated, and definitions of "couple," "infertility," "ART clinics," and "banks" must be synchronised between the Bill and the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill.
- All ART entities shall be obligated by the national interest, cordial relations with other states, public order, decency, and morality as directed by federal and state governments.
- Before affecting millions of people, all of the constitutional, medico-legal, ethical, and regulatory concerns highlighted by the Bill must be thoroughly examined.
Tags : art, constitutional issues