What is Assisted Reproductive Technology? ART (Regulation) Bill

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) refers to all fertility treatments and procedures to tackle infertility, in which both eggs and embryos are handled to achieve pregnancy. ART procedures include in-vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET), frozen embryo transfer (FET), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). ART techniques also apply to oocyte donation and gestational carriers. 

There has always been debate on the medical, ethical and legal aspects of ARTs. To regulate ART Services and Control unethical practices,  the ART Regulation Bill was introduced in the parliament in 2020. The major benefit of the ART (Regulation) Bill 2020 is that it will regulate ART services in the country. As a result, infertile couples will be more sure/confident about ethical practices in ARTs. 

The "ART (Regulation) Act" was passed on December 20, 2021 by the Indian Parliament to regulate the functioning of assisted reproductive technology clinics and ART banks in the country. Let's understand the Assisted Reproductive Technology in detail. 

Assisted Reproductive Technology
A test tube baby created by ART procedures

What is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)? Understand the ART (Regulation) Bill 2020

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

The term "Assisted reproductive technology (ART)" refers to the treatments used to achieve pregnancy. Assisted reproductive technology includes a wide variety of treatments that depend on the causes of infertility or inability to conceive. 

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) aims to provide opportunities for a singleton pregnancy and the provision of safe, efficient and affordable care for the delivery of healthy children.

A multiple pregnancy is one of the most common complications that can be prevented by reducing the number of fetuses implanted in a woman's body. 
The recent technological advances in preimplantation genetic diagnosis and assisted reproductive technology have focused on the achievement of this goal through genetic and biochemical research.

There are many options for assisted reproductive treatments, one of which requires consulting a doctor, discussing options with parents and sometimes a fertility consultant.

In general, ART procedures include surgically removing eggs from a woman's ovaries, combining them to the lab with sperm and sending them back to the woman's body or donating them to another woman.

ART procedures include in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET),   zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), intracytoplasmic sperm injection, frozen embryo transfer (FET) and/or the use of fertility medication.

ART procedures do not include treatments in which only sperm are handled or procedures in which a woman takes medication to stimulate egg production only without the intention of retrieving the eggs. 

What is Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2020?

The 'Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill 2020' is the latest step in a series of legislations approved by the Union Cabinet of India to regulate ART clinics and to save and protect the reproductive rights of women.

A number of provisions have been made in all regions of India to adopt "safe and ethical" practices in ART services and provide safe and ethical reproductive procedures to infertile couples.
Through this bill, the National Board, State Boards, National Registry and Registration Authority will regulate and monitor clinics and ART banks associated with assisted reproductive technology services.

The trend of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has grown rapidly during the last few years. India is also among the countries with the highest growth in ART centers and the number of ART cycles that occur every year.
While assisted reproductive technology, including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), has given rise to new hopes among infertility victims, many legal, ethical and social issues have also come up.

India has now joined the major centers of this global breeding industry. Not only is this, but the trend of reproductive tourism also increasing rapidly.
In India, related clinics are now providing almost all types of ART services such as male reproductive organ transplant, intrauterine insemination (IUI), IVF, ICSI, PGD and gestational surrogacy.
However, despite providing many such services in India, there has been no standardization of the respective protocols so far and the practice of providing information about this is still largely inadequate.

Through this bill, the National Board, State Boards, National Registry and State Medical Councils will regulate and monitor clinics and assisted reproductive technology banks associated with ART services.

The main objective of ART (Regulation) Bill is to provide protection against exploitation to the women and children concerned.
The ovarian cell donor needs to provide insurance cover and protection from multiple embryo implants and at the same time children born with assisted reproductive technology need to be given the same rights as any biological child.

There is a need to regulate the low-grade preservation of sperm, oocyte cells and embryos performed by ART banks and the bill aims to make genetic pre-implantation testing mandatory in the interest of a child born through assisted reproductive technology.

In December 20, 2021, The "ART (Regulation) bill was passed by the the act of Parliament to regulate the functioning of assisted reproductive technology clinics and and banks along with the Surrogacy Regulation Bill. 
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