Soon, fertility clinics in Maharashtra may require licence to operate

Jan 02 2014, 04:06 IST
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SummaryAt present, only 45-50 centres in the state have voluntarily registered with the ICMR.

IF the guidelines proposed by a special committee set up by state government are approved, it will be mandatory for In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) centres across the state to register themselves. At present, there is no statute to govern the multi-crore industry.

The move comes after the mother of Sushma Pandey (17), an oocyte donor who died in mysterious circumstances in 2010, filed a complaint against Dr Gautam Allahbadia, the medical director of the Bandra-based Rotunda: The Centre for Human Reproduction. If approved, the guidelines will empower the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) to monitor Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) centres like Rotunda.

At present, only 45-50 centres in the state have voluntarily registered with the ICMR. According to Maharashtra Indian Medical Association (IMA), there are around 3,500 IVF centres across the state, with over 500 in Mumbai alone.

If the proposed guidelines are approved at the State Supervisory Meeting (SSM), to be held by January-end, IVF centres will have to apply for licence with state government.

“With no regulations in place, uncontrolled rise in IVF clinics was observed. Now, only centres complying with the requirements will be granted licence,” said Dr Kishor Taori, president of MMC.

About six month ago, a committee was set up under the state health ministry to draft the guidelines necessary for ART procedures dealing with IVF and Intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Dr Anil Pachnekar, chairman of the committee, said, “Despite ICMR laying down certain national guidelines for IVF, there is no uniformity in practice. We intend to make licences compulsory for centres and bring them under one scanner.”

According to Dr Shivkumar Utture, executive committee member in MMC, licence permission will include factors like quality of equipment used, infrastructure, qualified experts for the centre, and the grade of the centre. “Different IVF centres specialise in different processes. While some only deal with insemination, others deal with fusing eggs with sperms or some provide full-fledged fertilisation facilities. These centres need to be graded according to the facility they provide,” said Utture.

The guidelines also suggest monitoring of specialised workforce employed with these centres. The ART processes require a gynaecologist, an andrologist, an embryologist and cousellors.

Utture said, “Under Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, all sonography machines need to be registered with MMC. We aim to bring about a similar regulation for equipment used for ART procedures.”

However, IVF expert Dr Firuza Parikh said IVF specialists were registered with ICMR and another registration would only lead to duplication. “While

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