By Dr Rajeev Agarwal, IVF Specialist & Director at Renew Healthcare

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill 2021 stands as a significant milestone in the landscape of assisted reproduction, heralding a new era of regulation, accountability, and transparency. While commendable in its efforts to establish standards and delineate ethical boundaries, the bill’s inherent limitations underscore the necessity for further refinement to ensure equitable access to reproductive rights for all individuals and couples.

Parenthood, a universally recognized fundamental human right, remains elusive for many couples grappling with infertility issues ranging from age-related fertility decline to complex medical conditions impeding natural conception and pregnancy.

The journey to parenthood for some couples is fraught with myriad obstacles, encompassing the loss of viable eggs due to age-related factors or underlying medical conditions. Equally poignant are the circumstances where the female partner, despite possessing viable eggs, is unable to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term due to life-threatening medical conditions or an incapable uterus. Furthermore, in certain instances, male partners may confront issues of infertility, rendering natural conception unattainable, even as the female partner yearns for the experience of motherhood.

The original provision of the government act stipulating that couples facing such adversities could only avail themselves of surrogacy if they utilized their own gametes elicited rightful criticism for its perceived injustice and failure to acknowledge the multifaceted nature of infertility. Over the course of two years, individuals, advocacy groups, and healthcare professionals intensely urged, petitioned, and advocated for a reevaluation of this restrictive provision, underscoring the imperative of safeguarding the reproductive rights of all individuals and couples.

In a heartening display of responsiveness and empathy, the government recently introduced an amendment to the ART Bill, heralding a seismic shift in the landscape of assisted reproductive technology. This progressive amendment now grants couples facing infertility challenges the autonomy to pursue surrogacy using one partner’s gametes, provided they meet specified criteria. This pivotal change underscores the government’s unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity, equity, and compassion within the realm of reproductive healthcare.

While delays may punctuate the bureaucratic machinery of governance, the light of justice, equity, and inclusivity continues to shine brightly, guiding policymakers and stakeholders alike toward a more equitable and compassionate future.”Govt ke ghar mein der hai, andher nahi.”

Looking ahead, it is necessary upon policymakers, healthcare providers, and advocacy groups to remain steadfast in their commitment to advancing reproductive rights and fostering a supportive environment that empowers individuals and couples to realize their aspirations of parenthood. By championing policies that prioritize inclusivity, equity, and compassion, we can collectively pave the way for a future where every individual has unfettered access to reproductive healthcare, irrespective of their circumstances or challenges.

Dr Rajeev Agarwal is IVF Specialist & Medical Director at a specialist one-stop unit in Women Health. He has more than 2 decades of experience as a Fertility Specialist. Dr. Rajeev also specializes in advanced laparoscopic procedures and is recognized for his expertise in performing fertility-preserving surgeries for Infertility patients as well as other Laparoscopic and Hysteroscopic Surgeries for Gynecological problems.


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