Fertility centres mushrooming across the city to cash in on the growing infertility issues – dominant in urban areas with no direct scrutiny over them – will now be accountable to the BMC if they do not register themselves within three months. In a notice issued by the civic body on Wednesday, all the In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) centres in Greater Mumbai have been “directed to register their centres under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act as genetic counselling centres, genetic clinics or genetic laboratories”.
Under the PCPNDT Act, a genetic counselling centre solely functions to provide guidance to patients, while a genetic clinic has a wider role to provide pre-natal diagnostic procedures such as ultra-sound and imaging techniques for sex determination of feotus. A genetic laboratory, apart from conducting procedures of a genetic clinic, carries out analysis or tests of samples for IVF.
Dr Suhasini Nagda, director of municipal hospitals, BMC, said, “According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, all IVF centres have to be registered to carry out fertility procedures. However, all centres do not follow the ethical guidelines. With this move, we can monitor them in a systematic way.”
According to the civic authorities, at present, several centres have been flouting rules and there is no check on them. Nagda added that the state government would soon issue a government resolution that will seek improved accountability of IVF centres. “The state government and the BMC agreed that a mechanism had to be devised to ensure that IVF centres were being conducted legally,” said Nagda.
“We have also observed that the city has higher gap between male and female as compared to the state. To bring down the male-female ratio, genetic clinics must be closely monitored so that they do not conduct sex determination tests, which is banned under the PCPNDT Act,” she added.
The notice warned that if any centre failed to registered within three months, the civic body will take necessary action against them without any further notice.
Dr Bipin Pandit, member of Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), who heads a panel forming surrogacy guidelines, welcomed the civic body’s move. “This will provide BMC better control over IVF centres. If there is no control, chances of irregularity are higher,” Pandit said.