Apex court wants rules on infertility treatments

July 9th, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday ordered the central government to expeditiously frame rules to regulate various modern techniques, including in-vitro fertilization, to treat infertility and the mushrooming growth of infertility treatment clinics across the country. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan was hearing a public interest lawsuit questioning the rampant use and the legality of various modern scientific techniques for infertility treatment in the absence of any law governing the matter.

The bench, which also included Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal, ordered framing of the guidelines, pending comprehensive legislation on the issue.

It wanted the guidelines within four weeks after Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian sought to assure the court that the government was live to the issue of extreme public importance.

He said the government was all set to enact a law on various modern techniques of assisted reproduction and regulate the mushrooming growth of clinics practicing the same.

Subramanian apprised the court of the government’s plans to bring in the law, responding to the petitioners’ allegation that the government had turned a blind eye to the issue of grave public importance and treating it callously and casually.

The lawsuit was filed by a childless couple from Kerala, who ended up suffering immensely at the hands of several unscrupulous doctors.

The couple said the government had not taken any concrete steps on the matter since 2006, when they had moved the court pointing out the complete absence of any regulation on the subject of modern techniques of infertility treatment.

While noting infertility treatment clinics’ tendency to fleece childless couples on the pretext of treating them through various modern techniques, the petitioner also questioned the legality and morality of these techniques.

The petitioner wanted to know if the donation of ova, sperm or embryo by a male or a female for infertility treatment as per such modern techniques can be considered legal in absence of any law to deal with the subject in India.

The petitioner also pointed out that the absence of any law on the donation of sperm, ova or embryo for the treatment of infertility would not merely lead to the confusion over the paternity of a child but would also affect the moral framework and social order of the society.

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