Indian Reproductive Tourism in Light of Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2020

Must Read

What is the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016?

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (“RERA”) is an Act of the Parliament. It seeks to protect...

Should the Exorbitant Amounts Charged for RT-PCR Tests be Refunded?

Introduction A plea has been filed in the Honourable Supreme Court of India seeking a refund of exorbitant amounts charged...

Should CCTV’s be Installed in the Police Station?

Introduction In a recent judgment, the bench led by Justice Nariman issued directions to both the state and Union Territory...

A Legal Analysis of the West Bengal Political Crisis on IPS Deputation

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently summoned three IPS officers of West Bengal (WB). The decision was...

Explained: Postal Ballot for NRIs

At the end of November 2020, Election Commission sent a proposal to the law ministry to amend the Representation...

Explained: Constitutional Provisions and Legislations With Regards to a Person with Disabilities

The world celebrates December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This day is also called World...

Follow us

Approval of Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill 2020 and the Surrogacy (Amendment) Bill 2020 will impact on the once booming Medical Tourism Industry of India.

Medical Tourism is travelling for medicinal treatment and/or improving health and fitness. The driving factor of this industry is the difference in the cost of healthcare across the globe. Reproductive tourism is a subset, and people also travel to seek, Assisted Reproductive Technologies. The driving factor in this case is the laws and regulation governing the reproductive sector as well as the costs and expenses. Therefore, the travel can be both domestic as well as international. 

Indian Scenario 

Marriage, children and family planning is an essential pillar of the Indian society. No society is completely free from diseases and stigma. Infertility is a disease and yet having the desire of having a child is understandable. Assisted Reproductive Technology (hereinafter referred to as ‘ART’) helps such people to have their own child/children. 

Over the years India has seen one of the highest growths in the ART sector! The number of the ART cycles performed each year, keeps increasing. ART includes services like gamete donation, artificial insemination, intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and gestational surrogacy. These are all offered by the Indian ART clinics. A procedure, in this case, like ART brings with itself a list of social, ethical and legal issues also. Therefore, it is necessary to ponder upon these.

The ART Bill 2020 thus, formulates and addresses most of the issues and the possible solutions. It establishes a code and protects the involved parties from exploitation. The steps taken by the Bill will help resolve a lot of socio-legal issues and complications that may erupt.

Prominent Features 

Safe Practice

  • Code of Conduct – formulated for the professionals and workers at the clinic. ‘National Board’ will track the same.
  • Establishing minimum standards for the banks and clinics on physical infrastructure, expert manpower and diagnostic equipment.

Mandatory Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

PGD will also detect any defect or abnormal chromosome in the embryo before its implantation in the uterus. It will help avoid the presence of genetic disorders in the children born through ART.

Penalty Provisions

Inclusion of strict punishment for people (and agencies)/rackets/organizations involved in these unlawful practices) practicing sex selection of the embryos and sale of embryos. 

Trafficking and sale of embryos is a crime and penalized heavily. The first strike will attract a fine up to Rs. 10 Lakh. A second instance will attract a punishment of imprisonment for up to 12 years.

Regulatory Boards

Mandatory constitution of a Regulatory Board for all States and Union Territories in their region. (Within 3 months of notification by the Central Government). These will ensure the following of plans and policies as laid by the National Board.

National Registry & authority

To is to maintain a database to assist the functioning of the National Board.

Confidentiality

This is to keep confidential the information of intending parents.

Social Impact

The society will face a positive impact on the effect of this Act. The objectives and the features of the Act also address the social concerns which existed. 

The Act classifies the process of sex selection of the embryo as unlawful. It is a much-needed step in ensuring no discrimination between a female and a male child. It may also help stabilize the sex ratio of the population. There are also stern provisions against trafficking of embryos. This is due to the immoral and exploitative in nature of the act.

The provision of ‘confidentiality’ of intending parents is vital to instill confidence. It will provide the required help as well as reduce the stigma of the process over a period of time. 

Mandating Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis aims to avoid birthing children with genetic defects. This will help the child and parent both! It will also help establish a healthy population. 

The main purpose, however, is the protection of women and children from exploitation. Women involved in ART will receive an insurance cover. The children born will have the rights equivalent to biological children! The scope of malpractice which existed before the defined legislation will reduce. 

Economic Impact 

Surrogacy is dependent on ART procedures. The Rajya Sabha approved Surrogacy (Amendment) Bill 2020. Considering the relation between ART and surrogacy, it is also advisable that the ART Bill comes into force before the Surrogacy Bill. This will ensure better surveillance and functioning of the system. 

India peaked as a $2.3 billion reproductive tourism industry around 2013. Surrogacy was the prime reason for the growth of the industry. The Bill now restricts the provisions of ART to only Indian heterosexual married couple, or single women (widow or divorcee). The denting impact on the economy is irrefutable. 

There is an attempt to justify this as a result of balance. In the big picture, the balance between ethics, morality and social justice is desirable. Therefore, the Bill will now ensure that the balance that it ought to maintain is achievable.

Impact of the Coronavirus 

The umbrella of issues that COVID-19 has managed to include under it is remarkable! Therefore, every industry has had to face the brunt of COVID 19. The ART industry was not left behind either.

The most primary impact is in the form of travel chaos, rather shutdown. Both cross-international borders shut down, as well as domestic transport, is on hiatus. Nationwide shutdowns and implementation of lockdowns have affected this industry. The economic impact is an obvious link, but there is also impediment on family planning. There is a disturbance in the charting of family planning, now for an uncertain period of time. 

Contacting surrogates and donors, their presence, transportation as well availability is all uncertain. Health insurance coverage is also a grey area. Direct implications on all the related contracts and agreements will be a result of the delay caused by the pandemic.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) issued recommendations and guidelines to aid the participants of ART. It is in special regards to people who are currently entangled with ART. They include suspension in the initiation of new cycles, cancellation of embryo transfers amongst others. A reference will prove fruitful in case the pandemic lasts post the enactment of the Act in India.

Conclusion

It is imperative to note here that though the Bill has taken commendable steps in ensuring social and legal protection. There also exists an exception in ensuring the most benefit to the economic sector. The ART Bill will form a governing regulation for the Surrogacy (Amendment) Bill 2020 too. The influx of foreign ‘reproductive tourists’ will now be NIL. 

The cost and pricing of other ART procedures, in global comparison, is very reasonable in India. Therefore, India will remain a part of the global fertility industry. Its reigning position may face hesitation.

The contention of Bill’s social benefits and strong regulation also outweighing the negative factor of exploitation will hold strong. Exploitation is a major concern of the ART industry, and the Bill aims to curb it. The Bill sure does entail great social benefit and legal regulations. But, it also definitely classifies as a great first step in this sector.


Libertatem.in is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgements from the court. Follow us on Google News,InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also subscribe for our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

WhatsApp Emails Delhi HC Judge Asking Her Not To Hear the Plea Challenging New Privacy Policy

The Delhi High Court raised strong objection to an E-mail sent by WhatsApp asking a judge not to hear the plea which challenges its new privacy policy. Justice Pratibha Singh said that the e-mail that was withdrawn later was totally unwarranted as she was anyway going to recuse from hearing the plea which was filed by Rohilla Chaitanya who contends that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp provides 360-degree access to a customer’s virtual activity and is against the fundamental right of privacy.

TRP Scam Case: Bombay HC Extends Protection To Arnab Goswami and Other Employees Till the Next Hearing

On Friday, the Bombay High court extended the protection that was given, to Republic TV’s Editor in Chief Arnab Goswami and other employees of ARG Outlier Media Private Limited till January 29th in the alleged case of Television Rating Point manipulation. A status report was submitted by the police to the division bench of Justices S.S.Shinde and Manish Pitale by the Police on the ongoing case.

Plea Seeks FIR Against Maharashtra Minister Dhananjay Munde in Bombay HC for False Info

A plea has been filed in Bombay High Court seeking an FIR against Maharashtra minister Dhananjay Munde who is undergoing times of trouble due to his extra-marital affair. Recently, an FIR had been lodged against Munde by a woman, accusing him of raping her sister. Munde clarified that he was actually in a relationship with that woman and had two children. He accused the two women of blackmailing him.

Writ Petition for Compensation Accepted by Calcutta High Court 

Introduction The Petitioner Purna Ch. Biswas filed a Writ Petition with the complaint that their claims for a higher quantum of compensation have not yet...

No Members Could Be Disqualified Without Authorisation by Political Party: Gujarat High Court

Excerpt The dispute application no.7 of 2020 filed by respondent no.2 before designated authority. Thereafter the designated authority order dated 28.10.2020 disqualified the petitioner and...

Delhi High Court Directs Delhi Jal Board To Make Supply of Potable Drinking Water

The High Court of Delhi in the matter of Delhi Sainik Cooperation Housing Ltd. v. Union of India & Ors held that right to...

Punjab & Haryana High Court Orders Security To BJP Leader Alleged for Not Supporting Farmers Protest

The Order had come in the form of a Writ Petition filed by Tikshan Sood under Article 226 of the Constitution. The petition before...

Lahore High Court Outlaws Two-Finger Virginity Test

The Lahore High Court in Pakistan has outlawed the use and conduct of virginity tests, namely, the use of the “two-finger” virginity test and...

London Court Rejects Assange’s Extradition – What Happens Now? 

Earlier last week, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, sitting in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court denied the Government of the U.S.A.'s request to the U.K. to...

Calcutta High Court Decides in Favor of Contractor as He Accidentally Pays an Excessively High Amount

Introduction The present writ petition has been filed for a writ in the nature of mandamus commanding the Respondents to revoke the Petitioner’s offer as...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -