Bills on ART and surrogacy passed in Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 and the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020  in the absence of Opposition on December 8, 2021. The bill has excluded single men, live-in couples, and the LGBTQ community.

Background

Central Government was working on the bill to regulate the ART industry since 2008. The bill was first drafted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). It was first introduced in 2020 in the Lok Sabha but it referred the bill to a standing committee.

Provisions of the ART Bill

  1. Bill proposes to establish a “National Registry and Registration Authority for all medical professionals and clinics. The Authority will help in maintaining the database of all the clinics and professionals working in the field. Registration authorities will be appointed by state governments to facilitate registration process.
  2. Bill also seeks to regulate and supervise Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) clinics and ART banks, adopt safe & ethical practices and prevent misuse.
  3. It also proposes to constitute a National Board. Board will set minimum standards of physical infrastructure, diagnostic equipment, expert manpower and laboratory.
  4. Bill further seeks stringent punishment people practicing sex selection, and sale of human embryos or gametes, or people found running agencies, organisations rackets for such practices in violation of the law.

Penalty on violation of Law

  • Bill provides for a penalty of Rs. 5 lakhs to Rs. 10 lakhs, for the first-time offenders.
  • Subsequent Contraventions are punishable with imprisonment for 8 to 12 years and a fine between Rs. 10 to Rs. 20 Lakh.
  • Any Clinic or Bank which are advertising or offering Sex-Selective ART would be punishable with imprisonment of 5-10 years or a fine between Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 25 Lakh, or both.

What was the need of this bill?

The bill was needed to standardize protocols. There are several ART clinics that are running without regulation. Furthermore, there are implications on health of those undertaking the procedure. Thus, a standard protocol is required to stop unethical practices.

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