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  • The Indian Council of Medical Research drafted the first draft of a law to govern the massive fertility treatment sector in 2008. (ICMR).
  • The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020, was tabled for discussion by the Lok Sabha after numerous twists and turns.
  • The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill of 2020 aims to establish standards in the reproductive business and bring consistent costs in.

What is ART

  • All methods for obtaining a pregnancy include handling sperm or an oocyte (immature egg cell) outside the human body and transferring the gamete or embryo into a woman's reproductive system.
  • ART includes Gamete (sperm or oocyte) donation, in-vitro-fertilisation (fertilising an egg in the lab), and gestational surrogacy (the child is not biologically related to surrogate mother).
  • ART services will be supplied by
  1. ART clinics that conduct ART-related treatments and procedures.
  2. ART banks that store and distribute gametes.

Regulation of ART clinics and banks

  • According to the bill Every ART clinic and bank must be registered with the National Registry of Banks and Clinics of India.
  • The Bill establishes the National Registry, which will serve as a single database containing information on all ART clinics and banks in the country.
  • To make the registration procedure easier, state governments will appoint registration authorities.
  • The registration will be valid for five years, with the option to renew for another five.
  • If an entity violates the Bill's terms, its registration may be revoked or suspended.

Objectives of the bill

  • Regulate ART services and safeguard women and children from exploitation.
  • To safeguard egg donors from repeated embryo implantation by providing insurance coverage (due to the health risks involved for mother and child).
  • To ensure that children born through ART have the same rights as biological children.
  • Regulate ART banks' cryopreservation (cold storage) of sperm, eggs, and embryos.
  • Make preimplantation genetic testing a requirement for children born through assisted reproductive technologies.
  • To verify that ART clinics and banks are properly registered.

Conditions for gamete donation and supply

  • Only a recognised ART bank is allowed to screen gamete donors, collect and store semen, and provide oocyte donors.
  • Males between the ages of 21 and 55 can donate semen, while females between the ages of 23 and 35 can donate oocytes.
  • A woman can only contribute one oocyte once throughout her life, and she can only have seven oocytes extracted from her.
  • An oocyte donor should be an Ever-married lady with at least one living child (minimum three years of age).
  • A single donor's gamete cannot be sent to more than one commissioning couple by a bank (couple seeking services).

Rights of a Child born through ART

  • A child born via ART will be considered the commissioning couple's biological child and will be entitled to all of the rights and privileges that a natural child would have.
  • A donor will not be able to exercise parental authority over the kid.

National and State Boards

  • The National and State Boards for Surrogacy, established under the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, would regulate ART services at the national and state levels, respectively.
  • Boards will advise the central government on ART policy issues.
  • Boards will Review and monitor the Bill's implementation.
  • Boards will develop a code of conduct and standards for ART clinics and banks.
  • Boards will supervise various bodies to be established under the Bill.

Offences under the Bill

  • Abandoning or exploiting children who are born as a result of ART.
  • The sale, purchase, trade, or import of human embryos or gametes.
  • Obtaining donations through intermediaries.
  • In any way abusing the commissioning couple, woman, or gamete donor.
  • Implanting a human embryo in a male or animal.

Penalties under the Bill

  • For the first violation, these offences will be penalised by a fine of between five and 10 lakh rupees.
  • Any clinic or bank that advertises or offers sex-selective ART would face a sentence of five to ten years in prison, a fine of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh, or both.
  • No court will take cognizance of offences under the Bill unless the National or State Boards or any officer authorised by the Boards file a complaint.