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Minor girl forced to sell Oocytes: TN government orders shutting down of four hospitals

Chennai, July 14 (IANS)

The Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian said that the government has ordered the closing down of four fertility hospitals in the state in relation to a minor girl from Erode forced to donate her Oocytes. He was speaking to reporters here on Thursday.

The minister said that there were six hospitals involved in the crime of which four were from Tamil Nadu, one from Andhra Pradesh, and the other from Kerala. He said that hospitals of Tamil Nadu would be shut down while the state health secretary is directed to write to his counterpart in the other states for appropriate action.

The state health minister said that government has ordered the shutting down of hospitals in Salem, Krishnagiri, and Erode for violations under the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act and Pre- conception and Pre- Natal Diagnostic Technology Techniques (PCPNDT) Act based on the inquiry report on the minor girl forced to donate her Oocytes.

It may be noted that four persons including the mother of a 16-year-old girl and her paramour were arrested on charges of forcing the girl to donate her Oocytes. The state health department had formed an inquiry committee headed by Dr. Viswanathan, Joint Director of Medical and Rural Health Services, and a final report was submitted on July 7.

Inquiries were conducted at hospitals in Salem, Erode, Krishnagiri, and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala where the girl had charged that she was taken forcibly. The minister said that these hospitals have violated the provisions of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, Pre- conception and Pre- Natal Diagnostic Technology Techniques Act, and Tamil Nadu Clinical Establishment Act.

Ma Subramanian while speaking to reporters  said, “ There was commercial donation at these hospitals and there were no qualified counselors, and the pros and cons of oocyte donation were not explained to the minor girl.”

He said that the girl was forced to donate oocytes several times and that her Aadhar card was not verified and the approval that should have been obtained from the spouse was from some other person.

The minister also said that according to the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, a donor aged between 21 and 35 years can donate oocytes once in her lifetime.

He said that the hospitals were given fifteen days time to discharge all the patients who were admitted there at present and complete their treatment and will be shut down after that.

Ma Subramanian said that as per the ART Act the hospitals can be fined up to Rs 50 lakh and the concerned doctors and other management people 10 years of imprisonment.