From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : ART
Mains level : Read the attached story
The Union Cabinet has approved the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020 to monitor medical procedures used to assist people to achieve pregnancy.
What is ART?
- Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is used to treat infertility.
- Assisted reproductive technology includes medical procedures used primarily to address infertility.
- This subject involves procedures such as in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, cryopreservation of gametes or embryos, and/or the use of fertility medication.
Highlights of the bill
- National Board: The Bill provides for a national Board which will lay down a code of conduct to be observed by those operating clinics.
- Standardization: It will also formulate minimum standards for laboratory and diagnostic equipment and practices to be followed by human resources employed by clinics and banks.
- National registry: Under the proposed law, a national registry and registration authority will maintain a database to assist the national Board to perform its functions.
- Confidentiality clause: The Bill will also ensure confidentiality of intending couples and protect the rights of the child.
- India has one of the highest growths in the number of ART centres and ART cycles performed every year.
- India has become one of the major centres of this global fertility industry, with reproductive medical tourism becoming a significant activity.
- This has also introduced a plethora of legal, ethical and social issues; yet, there is no standardisation of protocols and reporting is still very inadequate.
- The Bill thus proposes stringent punishment for those who practise sex selection; indulge in sale of human embryos or gametes and those who operate rackets.
Other such Bills
Taken together, theses proposed legislations create an environment of safeguards for women’s reproductive rights, addressing changing social contexts and technological advances.
Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2020
- The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020 proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Board at the central level and State Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the States and Union Territories.
- The major benefit of the Act would be that it will regulate the surrogacy services in the country.
- While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryos and gametes, ethical surrogacy to the Indian Married couple, Indian Origin Married Couple and Indian Single Woman (only widow or Divorcee) will be allowed on fulfillment of certain conditions.
- As such, it will control the unethical practices in surrogacy, prevent commercialization of surrogacy and will prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.
Medical Termination Pregnancy Amendment Bill 2020
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (34 of 1971) was enacted to provide for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- The said Act recognised the importance of safe, affordable, accessible abortion services to women who need to terminate pregnancy under certain specified conditions.
- Besides this, several Writ Petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court and various High Courts seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at gestational age beyond the present permissible limit on the grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women.