The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill which proposes the establishment of a national registry and registration authority for all clinics and medical professionals serving in the field.
The bill also proposes stringent punishment for those practising sex selection and sale of human embryos or gametes.
Giving details of the bill, Union Minister Smriti Irani said sex selection and sex determination prohibited are under the proposed legislation.
“Ensuring the confidentiality of the commissioning couples, women and donors will also be done under the aegis of this proposal of the Cabinet. The bill also has a provision that those involved in trafficking and sale of embryos will be fined Rs 10 lakh at first instance and in second instance the person could be imprisoned for up to 12 years,” she said.
Irani said the bill also seeks to protect the reproductive rights of not only the commissioning couple but also the lady who will be part of this process.
“This particular decision of the Cabinet seeks a central database in the country through which details of all clinics and banks, including nature, kind of services provided, the outcome of the services provided will be obtained on a regular basis,” she said.
“The data generated from the national registry will also be used for research purposes in this particular segment of health,” she added.
According to an official statement, the national board lays down code of conduct to be observed by persons working at clinics, to set the minimum standards of physical infrastructure, laboratory and diagnostic equipment and expert manpower to be employed by clinics and banks.
The states and union territories will constitute the state boards and state authorities within three months of the notification by the Centre. The state board shall have the responsibility to follow the policies and plans laid by the national board for clinics and banks in the state, the statement said.
“The bill also proposes for stringent punishment for those practising sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes, running agencies or rackets for such unlawful practices,” the statement said.
The major benefit of the Act would be that it will regulate the assisted reproductive technology services in the country. Consequently, infertile couples will be more ensured/confident of the ethical practices in ARTs.
The bill follows the introduction in Parliament of the Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2020, and the approval of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2020.