Sack full of pleasures
Sir — Madhumita Shukla must be turning in her grave. After the murder of the Hindi poet, the prime suspect, Amarmani Tripathi, though formally dropped from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet, is still on the government’s website as a minister and enjoying all the perquisites too (“Stripped of crown, not perks and frills”, May 29). The concept of sacking is being given a new definition altogether: it is a device resorted to by chief ministers to make his or her government appear upright and fair, even when it is not.
Brinda Sen, Calcutta
Sir — It is both depressing and shocking to read the report, “Childless woman’s search for baby ends in HIV from donor” (May 19) first thing in the morning. Such an instance of contracting the HIV virus through artificial insemination must be the first in India. It is strange to see that when the entire world is becoming increasingly conscious of the dreaded disease, the staff at the infertility clinics could be so callous as to clear donors of sperm without proper screening. Worse, even after this particular incidence, no reported action seems to have been taken by the Indian Medical Council. Fertility clinics in the city, already suspect for their modus operandi, will take a beating as couples will now prefer to be treated in cities which have a better reputation for infertility treatment.
Sir — Given that a high percentage of married couples now go for infertility treatment, the case of Suparna shows the risks involved. Infertility is traumatic by itself. The errant Calcutta clinic which is responsible for the spread of the HIV infection to Suparna should not be forgiven for its negligence. It not only failed to fulfil its responsibility, but it also thrust upon the lady an additional burden of bearing with a terminal disease. The government has been trying to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS. But if specialized clinics, leave alone the general public, are so completely unaware of HIV, we cannot be succeeding in our awareness campaigns.
Sir — The claim that a new hi-tech cryobank in Calcutta will provide processed sperm samples for “foolproof” artificial insemination is ludicrous (“High-tech, foolproof screen for effective insemination”, May 23). Years of study are required in the first place before the claim is made. Moreover, the HIV virus has the uncanny ability to lie latent within a cell for a long period of time and even the most sensitive detection technique like the polymerase chain reaction may fail to identify HIV. Which means we will be only providing a false sense of security to prospective acceptors of sperm. The proposition that only medical students would be taken as donors to ensure quality is also ridiculous. Does this mean that other genuine donors lack “quality”' Besides, the infertility expert, Rajeev Agarwal, should not be too sure about being able to trace students for screening after three to five years. They are equally susceptible to sinning as others.
The proposed “hi-tech” purification of sperms has been in use to avoid HIV transmission in “artificial insemination” for the past several years. But only a much longer wait will prove its efficiency. Fertility experts in Calcutta need to be more careful before offering expectant parents such guarantees against sexually transmitted diseases.
Kunal Saha, Columbus, US
Sir — The display of vulgar pictures has become routine affair with the print media. The situation has come to such a pass that one cannot read the newspaper at home in front of children. The Telegraph’s “Facts of life” (May 25) was particularly disconcerting. Let sex education be handled by educationists, not newspapers.
Sampat Ray Agrawal,