In Bihar fertility clinics,eye on the donor’s caste

Couples visiting the state’s two fertility clinics seem more concerned about the caste of sperm

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Published: July 13, 2012 2:25 am

Couples visiting the state’s two fertility clinics — both located in Patna — seem more concerned about the caste of sperm or egg donors than their medical history and the norms guiding such clinics.

Both the clinics have in recent months witnessed a number of people coming from faraway Purnia and Katihar.

Recent Bollywood hit Vicky Donor may have a role to play in this current trend. The film’s poster at Srijan,a fertility clinic,is meant to attract couples open to the idea of having babies through In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI).

The enquiries at these clinics,however,do not include anything about the Bombay High Court pulling up the Mumbai police for not probing into the role of a hospital in the death of Sushma Pandey (17),an egg donor,two years ago.

The most baffling question to doctors at these clinics is couples wanting to know the caste of sperm donors.

Even though doctors claim of not entertaining such queries and rather concentrating on “quality of sperm”,several couples keep nagging hospital staff till they get some clue about the caste. Dr Saurabh Kumar of Frozen Cell,a sperm bank,said several people were curious to know the caste of the sperm donors.

Member of ethics committee of World Medical Council and former Indian Medical Association president Dr Ajay Kumar said: “Though there are no rules in place as of now on revealing or not revealing the identity of the sperm or egg donor,doctors are bound by the confidentiality clause of the Medical Council of India. Fertility clinics cannot reveal caste and identity of donors as it involves chances of parentage claims”.

Chief consultant at Srijan clinic,Dr Himanshu Roy said,“Though such (caste) queries do not directly come to me,I keep hearing about couples’ interest in knowing the caste and background of the sperm donors. My experience at the fertility clinic during the last 12 years shows that only 500-700 of 15,000 patients would have asked directly about the caste of the sperm donors.” Roy added that though Bihar has moved beyond caste considerations,it’s still difficult to completely dismantle the caste factor.

Srijan,which started in 1999,has to its credit the first IVF pregnancy,twins and triplets,and the first pregnancy with donor embryo in the state.

Roy said the clinic had been receiving patients from “villages to top class people”. “We are now getting patients from all across the state. We are getting more patients from Siwan,Gopalganj,Katihar,Patna and Purnia,” said Roy,adding that IUI method is popular for being cheaper and hassle-free.

“IVF costs about Rs 70,000. We have done about 1,000 IVF so far. IUI is more popular with couples having chances of their own babies as the method involves concentrating sperm count. But with the IUI method’s success being 10-15 per cent,people will have to depend on sperm donors,” said Roy,adding how sperm donation had been increasing too.

Intra Uterine Inseminaion is a procedure in which the husband or donor’s semen is taken and the best quality of sperm is separated and put inside the women’s uterus with a soft catheter at the time of egg release. IVF is popular as ‘test tube baby’.

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