CHENNAI: After the recent case of a 16-year-old girl from Erode being forced to donate ovum, which is an immature egg, in Erode, the State Health Department conducted an inquiry. As per the inquiry report, the department will be taking legal action against four private hospitals in the State for violations under the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act and Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act.
Action will be taken against concerned doctors working in fertility centers and cancellation of insurance plans of fertility centers, cancellation of license of the scan centers of Fertility Centers under the Tamil Nadu Clinical Establishments Act (TNCEA) will be done.
In a press conference on Thursday, the health minister said that ovum were sold to various fertility centers in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and a high level committee from the Directorate of Medical Services have investigated the case.
Based on the investigation, Sudha Hospital, Erode and Salem, Ramaprasad Hospital, Perundurai, Vijay Hospital, Hosur, Srikrishna Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, Mathirutva Test Tube Baby Centre, Tirupati were found to have made violations under ART Act- ICMR Guidelines and PCPNDT Act sections respectively.
The accused persons were interrogated by the team in jail and the final report of the inquiry officer was submitted to the Director, Directorate of Medical and Rural Services on 07 July, 2022. Based on the inquiry and further examination of the documents, it was found that the actual age of the girl who donated eggs was 16 and her real name and age were concealed and the records were forged.
Based on the inquiry, it was found that the girl was forced by her family to donate eggs and Aadhar card was also forged by the parents and the middleman at six related clinics. The hospitals did not receive Aadhaar card details with both sides details. They have obtained it knowing it to be a fake Aadhaar and it turns out that the clinics operated commercially on human egg donors.
It was found that a consultant without proper educational qualification acted as a consultant. The egg donor was not explained about the pros and cons of the egg donation. Moreover, the hospital did not store the scan images in the USG machine and the investigating officers were not provided with all the correct documents.
The report revealed that the ovum was taken from the girl several times and the fake Aadhaar card was used without validating it. The misrepresentation of donor's age and consent was not obtained. According to the ART Act, the ovum can be retrieved only once in a lifetime from a person who has had a child between 21 to 35 years.
The Joint Directors of Health Services would undertake action against four hospitals in Salem, Krishnagiri and Erode. The respective other State governments will be recommended to take action against the two hospitals outside Tamil Nadu. "The hospitals have been found to have acted against the provisions of the PCPNDT Act. Therefore, since the scan centers in these hospitals have been operating in violation of the law, steps will be taken to close them down in accordance with the relevant law," the health minister said.