Lok Sabha clears Assisted Reproductive Tech Bill, Opposition terms it colonial : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill, 2020, to regulate infertility services in the country and penalise those practising sex selection, sale of human embryos and gametes and those running agencies and rackets around the booming the ART sector.

After Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya presented the Bill for consideration, the Congress called it “colonial” and questioned the exclusion of single men, same-sex couples and the LGBTQ community from the ambit of the law.

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“Our epics are replete with instances of unconventional births. The Mahabharata has many such instances. This government says it draws inspiration from the Puranas. But this Bill is regressive and Victorian. Don’t say you are propagating Hindu liberal values. You are propagating regressive colonial values,” said Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, the first one to speak followed by Trinamool’s Kakoli Ghosh, BJP’s Heena Gavit and NCP’s Supriya Sule.

The Congress questioned the provision, which says a woman donating eggs should be married with a child of three years.

Karti also flagged concerns that the Bill permitted screening of embryos for pre-existing life-threatening diseases. “This amounts to selection,” he said, asking why when the surrogacy regulation Bill provides for records to be stored for 25 years, the ART Bill asks for storage up to 10 years only.

Barring surrogacy which will be regulated under a standalone law, the ART Bill will pave the way for regulating other forms of ARTs provided by infertility clinics such as gamete donation, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), Intracytoplasmic sperm injection and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

The Bill seeks to establish a national advisory board, state advisory boards and a national registry for the accreditation, regulation and supervision of all ART clinics and banks.