National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

Context: A Delhi hospital has been ordered by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to pay a fine of ₹1.5 crore for negligence and unethical practices.
  • The hospital had mistakenly used donor semen that did not belong to the person during an in vitro fertilization procedure.
Order of NCDRC:
  • There is a need to make it mandatory for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) centres to issue DNA profiling of babies born through ART procedures.
  • The commission has conveyed this to the National Medical Council and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • NCDRC has observed that mushrooming of IVF clinics has made unethical practices rampant in India.
About National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC):
  • It is a quasi-judicial commission in India which was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.
  • Head office: New Delhi.
  • Headed by: a sitting or a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India or a sitting or a retired Chief Justice of High Court.
  • Jurisdiction:-
    1. To entertain a complaint valued more than two crore
    2. Appellate and Revisional jurisdiction from the orders of State Commissions or the District fora as the case may be.
  • Appeal: Any person aggrieved by an order of NCDRC, may prefer an Appeal against such order to Supreme Court of India within a period of 30 days.
 What does Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) mean?
  • ART includes all fertility treatments in which both eggs and embryos are handled.
  • In general, ART procedures involve surgically removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries, combining them with sperm in the laboratory, and returning them to the woman’s body.
  • This mainly includes In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), ICSI, cryopreservation of gametes (egg or sperm) or embryos, PGT (Preimplantation Genetic Testing). 
  • Through these procedures, many couples with otherwise untreatable infertility have given birth to healthy babies.
Types of ART:
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF):
    • IVF is a method of assisted reproduction in which the woman’s eggs and man’s sperms are fertilised outside the body in a laboratory dish, which is why it is also called a ‘test tube baby’.
    • One or more of these fertilised eggs (embryos) are then transferred in the woman’s womb, so that they can stick in the uterine lining and grow.
  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI):
    • This is a special technique that is most useful for male factor infertility where the sperm count or quality is very poor.
    • This mainly involves the same initial steps as for IVF, except that for the process of fertilisation, a special needle is used to inject the sperms inside the egg.
  • Cryopreservation of Gametes/Embryos:
    • Cryopreservation or freezing is a technique in which the embryos, eggs and sperms are frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196 degree centigrade for prolonged periods.
    • This is very useful for couples undergoing IVF treatment who have spare embryos left after the embryo transfer.
  • Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) 
    • It is an early form of prenatal genetic diagnosis where abnormal embryos are identified.
    • This enables the identification and selection of genetically healthy embryos, thus improving the chances of a healthy pregnancy.
    • This technique is a boon for couples who are either carriers of or suffer from genetic disorders that can be passed to their offspring.
Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

Leave a Comment