IVF and ART centres that treat infertility listed under PCPNDT radar

No baby, this is wrong!
Several doctors have claimed it is sheer harassment for clinics that treat people to conceive to be targetted for sex determination tests; state admits to something being wrong (THINKSTOCK.COM)
, sending doctors into tizzy of outrage.

While the twisted use of sex determination tests for unborn children is being strictly challenged and remedied by a strong system under the Pre- Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, it turns out that the newest step of the state government under this umbrella might be headed into a slightly tangential realm.

In fact, doctors from Pune and beyond are making no bones about calling the government’s decision to include Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) clinics in their list of places to crack down on under the Act as harassment and an unwanted intrusion, insisting that these have nothing to do with illegal sex determination, adding that they — in fact — treat infertility.

From this year on, the state has added ART and IVT centres and clinics to its list, putting them on the radar for frequent raids and visits from local PCPDNT teams. Ironically, even as Pune doctors outrage about what they say is an illogical decision, the state head for PCPNDT has agreed that the consideration of excluding the centres from the list will soon be discussed.

Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar, vice chairperson of the Maharashtra chapter for the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, told Mirror, “Visits of PCPNDT teams have already started for the year — we are confused as to how an IVF clinic or ART centre, both known for treating patients for infertility, can conduct sex determination tests. This addition to the list is most confusing.”

She explained that PCPNDT, known for nabbing miscreants who conduct sex determination tests, usually cracks down on sonography clinics. “Before implanting is done, a test called the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is done, which is very expensive and found with geneticists, not at ART centres. Besides, how are we supposed to fill Form Fs, which are only filled after we have a pregnant patient? These people have come to us for treatment to conceive! This is mere harassment.”

Dr Sanjeev Khurd, a member of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society, echoed, “A geneticist or sonography clinic needs to be compulsorily registered with PCPNDT — not us. We cannot be nabbed for not filling form Fs, as we are not meant to do so. A sonologist should keep those records. An IVF centre is not a sonography clinic. This move is impossible to support.” Dr Ritu Santwani, director of the Pune Test Tube Baby Centre, said, “A few days ago, my clinic was raided, but the team could find nothing so we came out clean. Unfortunately, this is sheer harassment. The state needs to exclude us from its PCPNDT list — we simply do not fit the bill. They cannot expect us to fill Form Fs, call unfilled portions a technical glitch and file cases against us. This is unacceptable.”

Dr Vaishali Jadhav, local PCPDNT head for Pune, failed to answer calls made to her on Wednesday.

Surprisingly, Dr Archana Patil, joint director of health services and head of the state PCPNDT cell, told Mirror, “It is compulsory for IVF and ART centres to be registered with us. But, if they are being harassed over sex determination tests or filling up of forms before patients get pregnant or tested for a sonography, it will be looked into. So far, we have never heard about any IVF clinic being shut or having lost its registration due to sex determination tests from our local PCPNDT cells in all districts.” She also admitted that IVF need not come under the PCPNDT radar, as it has nothing to do with sex determination. “Women who opt for IVF or ART treatment go there before getting pregnant, so a sex determination test or pregnancy test cannot take place at that stage. A discussion about these centres and clinics being included in our list will be carried out with policy makers at the state level,” she ended.


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