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IVF clinics get health department certificates

Move part of an act passed by the Parliament last year that asked states to form boards to regulate the clinics

Subhajoy Roy | Published 26.07.22, 06:19 AM

The state health department on Monday handed over registration certificates to several surrogacy and in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinics, as part of a requirement of an act passed by the Parliament last year that asked states to form boards to regulate the clinics.

The clinics that have obtained the certificates are supposed to display them.

An official of the state health department said that the clinics that have not registered themselves under the Surrogacy Regulation Act 2021 and the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Act 2021 should not handle surrogacies or assisted reproductive technology (ART) cases from Tuesday.

According to the acts, surrogacy is “a practice whereby one woman bears and gives birth to a child” for another couple and hands over the child to the couple after birth. ART includes all techniques “that attempt to obtain a 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”. IVF is one the ARTs.

Officials of the state health department said that besides forming a board that will look into broader policy issues, the health department has formed an authority especially to look into issues related to surrogacy and ART.

Officials said that the authority would safeguard the interests of donors, surrogate mothers and couples or women who take the path of surrogacy or ART. There have been multiple instances of exploitation and unethical practices as a number of clinics have sprung up across the city.

The ART Regulation Act 2021 mentions that the authority formed by the state health department will possess the power to “grant, suspend or cancel registration of a clinic or bank”; “enforce the standards to be fulfilled by the clinic or bank” “to investigate complaints of breach of the provisions of this Act”; take appropriate legal action against the misuse of ART and “also to initiate independent investigations in such matter”.

Gautam Khastgir, an IVF specialist and gynaecologist, said that following registration, the clinics have to send various data and information to the state government and upload the information on a national registry.

“Right now, there is no data on how many surrogacy births or IVF births take place in Bengal in a year. The national registry will have such data,” Khastgir said.

“A very good feature of the 2021 act is that the surrogate mother will have to be covered under health insurance. There have been instances where the surrogate mother fell ill and then the couple refused to bear expenses for her treatment,” he said.

An IVF specialist said that though an overwhelming majority of couples going for surrogacy or IVF take an honest path, there have been cases of unethical means being used.

Clinics that have not registered themselves should apply to the state health department. The department will conduct inspection and hand over registration certificates in the next phase, said an official.

3 flee from jail, 1 caught

Three prisoners, including a murder accused, escaped from Durgapur sub-correctional home after apparently scaling the 30ft-high boundary wall on Sunday.

The escape came to light when jail authorities were taking a count of prisoners on Sunday afternoon. The administration and police alerted all neighbouring police stations and launched a search.

The three prisoners were Nepal Mirdha, a resident of Jamtara in Jharkhand and a murder accused; Bhuban Neogi, a resident of Ramnagar in South 24-Parganas and an accused in a petrol pump robbery; and Mohammad Sahabuddin, a resident of Jamuria in West Burdwan, who was accused of attempting to murder his wife. Neogi was captured around midnight from Molandighi. The other two are yet to be traced.

Abhijeet Chatterjee

Last updated on 26.07.22, 06:19 AM

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