Letter to Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, raising issues and concerns related to assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and surrogacy

To,

Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad,

Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare,

Government of India,

New Delhi

 

Dear Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad,

Sama-Resource Group for Women and Health and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan has been raising issues and concerns related to assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and surrogacy for the past many years. This is to bring to your notice a case of medical negligence resulting in the death of a 26 years old Yuma Sherpa, following   an egg donation procedure at New India Clinic, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi. The woman belongs to Darjeeling and was working in Delhi as a shop assistant in Lodhi Colony.

 

As per the newspaper reports in The Hindu and The Indian Express dated 1 February 2014 and the statement issued by the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) who visited the family of the victim as well asafter the procedure of donation of the eggs on January 29th, the woman spoke to her husband on the phone from the recovery room of the clinic. When her husband reached the clinic, he found out that she was not responding. Even after he told this to the staff, he was told that it was because of the medications given to her. Later she was shifted in a critical condition to another hospital at a distance rather than other hospitals like AIIMS on the way. Her death in these circumstances raises many questions which need serious investigation.

 

We request you to take up this matter urgently and expedite an investigation into the case. Strict action should be taken against those who are found guilty and compensation should be paid to the family of the woman. We demand an  immediate investigation into the case and punishment to the guilty and justice to the family.

 

We have seen in the last few years, that ethical practices almost cease to exist and worrying stories of unscrupulous means to maximize profit by cashing in on egg donors’ or surrogates’ vulnerability abound.

 

This incidence once again underscores the long overdue need to set up regulatory framework for the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) for dealing with such cases. We have repeatedly submitted our concerns on the ART Draft Bill in order to ensure protection of rights of the surrogates and egg donors. The present ART Draft Bill (2013) needs to reviewed; we have sent our comments and recommendations on the 2010 Draft Bill and also on the ART Draft Bill (2013) [copied below]. We are attaching again the concerns of Sama on the Draft Bill and the proposed Act, and urge you to consider our concerns and recommendations.

 

As we have repeatedly argued for years, protections offered to egg donors and surrogates are completely inadequate, including in the current Draft ART Bill 2013, especially in terms of the medical risks they undertake. There is no mention of “death” in the entire Draft Bill.

 

The medical regimen, its implications and the experiences of egg donors or surrogates pose questions that are deeply political and have significant connotations at the policy level, which need to be addressed for protecting the rights of the egg donors and surrogates. It is therefore imperative that the number of oocytes ‘retrieved’ and embryos to be ‘harvested’ and “transferred” need to be restricted and strictly regulated taking cognizance of health implications and safety, age and other health conditions, etc., of women undergoing these procedures/arrangements. The focus should be on ensuring the protection of donors from any injury or death. Privileging the financial interests over considerations of egg donors and surrogates’ health, while evading any scrutiny by grounding all decisions in being “medically indicated”, poses a great challenge to the ethics of medical practice. 

 

We hope that urgent attention will be paid to the Draft legislation (2013) and processes for review and incorporation of concerns will be initiated. We also hope that immediate action is taken against those involved in the death of Yuma Sherpa and justice is rendered to her family.

 

Sarojini N.

(Sama Resource Group for Women and Health )

Deepa Venkatachalam

(Jan Swasthya Abhiyan)

Advertisements

Medico Friend Circle (MFC) 40th Annual Meeting

Dear Friends,

 

Greetings from the Medico Friend Circle (MFC)!

 

We cordially invite you to join us on the evening of 13th February 2014, 40 Years and Onwards! The Journey that is Medico Friend Circle (MFC), at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, Lodhi Road, Delhi on the occasion of 40 years of the Medico Friend Circle. It would be wonderful to have you with us while we celebrate, reminisce about our history and imagine the years ahead. 

 

40 Years and Onwards! The Journey that is MFC

Venue: India Islamic Cultural Centre, Lodhi Road

Date/Time: 13th February 2014 / 5.00 pm – 8.30 pm

Programme

5.00 pm – 5.30 pm: The Journey that is MFC!

5.30 pm – 7.30 pm: Presentations and Discussion on key MFC Themes and Issues (Primary Health Care, Universal Health Care, Medicines, Communalism, Social Determinants of Health)

7.30 pm – 8.30 pm: Music by Vidya Shah

 

 

Do also join us for the day long programme on the 13th February and the Annual Meet on Discrimination and Health on the 14th-15th at the Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road (Details given below).

 

Looking Back Looking Ahead! Through 40 years

We also invite you to be part of the 40 MFC years through the day long programme on the 13th February (11 am – 4 pm) at the Indian Social Institute (ISI), as we journey through history – pausing at each decade with friends who founded and joined the Circle, specific themes, debates, songs.

 

Venue: Indian Social Institute (ISI), 10 Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

Date / Time: 13th February (11 am – 4 pm)

 

Annual Meet: Social Discrimination and Health

You are also welcome to join the Annual Meet on 14th and 15th February at the Indian Social Institute (ISI), Lodhi Road, to be part of discussions and debates on the Annual Meet Theme: Discrimination and Health. (A detailed programme schedule is attached).

Venue: Indian Social Institute (ISI), 10 Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

Date / Time: 14th – 15th February / 9.30 am – 6.00 pm

 

You may be already familiar with MFC, a nation-wide platform of secular, pluralist, and pro–people, pro-poor health practitioners, scientists and social activists interested in the health problems of the people of India. Since its inception in 1974, MFC has critically analyzed the existing health care system and has tried to evolve an appropriate approach towards health care which is humane and which can meet the needs of the vast majority of the people in our country. Its only commitment has been to intervene in and understand the debates, policies and practices of health in Independent India. Such an organization would doubtless have as many different narratives of history as it has perspectives through its life.

 

MFC is a non funded group of members from various backgrounds from across the country – public health professionals, medical doctors, nurses, health activists, researchers, students and professors at medical colleges and others. The MFC bulletin (first published in 1975) and the MFC Annual Meets have contributed to many debates and discussions on a range of health related issues, for example, primary health care, universal health care, nutrition, occupational health, communicable and non communicable diseases, women’s health, medical education, etc.  

 

 

We look forward to seeing you there for the event,

 

Dr. Sunil Kaul (Convener), Ms. Sarojini N. (EC Member) and 

Ms. Manisha Gupte (Managing Trustee) on behalf of MFC

Website: www.mfcindia.org