Health Ministry seeks data on single women taking the Assisted Reproductive Technology route

The Ministry had also sought category-wise figures on couples and single women who opted for surrogacy successfully following the implementation of the Surrogacy Act, 2021

January 04, 2024 08:58 pm | Updated January 05, 2024 01:48 am IST - NEW DELHI

Assisted Reproductive Technology is offered as a treatment for infertility, and to prevent congenital abnormalities, etc. File photo: Special Arrangement

Assisted Reproductive Technology is offered as a treatment for infertility, and to prevent congenital abnormalities, etc. File photo: Special Arrangement

The Union Health Ministry has sought data from all States and Union Territories on the total number of single women (divorcees/widows) and unmarried women who have successfully used Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in order to assess the functioning of the ART Act, 2021. Fertility experts have welcomed the move, along with the inclusion of single women/unmarried women as a category.

The Health Ministry had also sought category-wise figures of the total number of couples and single women who used surrogacy successfully following the implementation of the Surrogacy Act, 2021.

The letter issued by the Health Ministry in December had sought the information on a priority basis, to be submitted by January 1.

Speaking of the Ministry’s initiative, Shobhit Agarwal, CEO, Nova IVF Fertility, said that transparency was one of the core values of the sector, wherein complete information was shared with patients, and realistic expectations set to help them take well-informed decisions in their treatment and care.

“Additionally, this is a welcome move by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, where the authorities are assessing the implementation of the ART Act by gathering data. The request to share the successful ART cases gives a realistic picture of the success rate of various ART clinics. We hope this move will bring more transparency and efficiency to the fertility sector. Even in the single women segment, we see a few cases every month. Although currently in a nascent stage, we see single women inquiring about procedures like egg freezing, and this will boom in the years to come. The inclusion of single women/unmarried women as a category is a positive and welcome trend,” he said.

The National Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Board set up under the ART Act aims to regulate ART clinics and assisted reproductive technology banks, prevent the misuse of ART, and ensure the safe and ethical practice of ART services. The Ministry has also notified the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulations) Amendment Rules, 2023, under the ART Act, to provide donors and patients with better care. 

ART is offered as a treatment for infertility, and to prevent congenital abnormalities, etc. However, it has also raised concerns over parameters that limit the number of available donors. India, like the rest of the world, is facing a dip in fertility rates, and increasing costs of ART cycles.

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