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Ovarian Eggs Sale: TN To Close Down 4 Hospitals For Selling Minor's Oocytes

A state probe revealed that the minor was not warned of the medical consequences of oocyte donation.

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Ovarian Eggs Sale: TN To Close Down 4 Hospitals For Selling Minor's Oocytes
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Four fertility hospitals in Tamil Nadu will be shut down because they allegedly helped sell ovarian eggs of a 16-year-old girl.

Based on the final report submitted by a team from the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services (DMRHS), Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian said on 14 July, that the state will also be writing to the two other state governments to take action on two other hospitals, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.

The six hospitals are Sudha Hospital in Erode, Sudha Hospital in Salem, Rama Prasad Hospital in Perundurai, Vijay Hospital in Hosur, Sree Krishna Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, and Mathrutuva Test Tube Baby Centre in Tirupati.
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The 16-year-old girl from Erode was allegedly forced to sell her oocytes to private hospitals by her own family. The minor girl’s mother, the mother’s paramour, and a female intermediary were arrested on 3 June, and booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with certain provision of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

A probe into the case had revealed gross violations under Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act (ART) and Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.

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‘Girl’s Actual Age Was Deliberately Suppressed’: Probe

Investigation has revealed that the girl was allegedly raped several times in the last five years by her mother's partner, A Syed Ali.

Her mother Indirani was a regular egg donor who allegedly dragged her daughter into the fertility racket, a police official said. The police had said that for each donation, the mother had been paid Rs 20,000 and her friend received Rs 5,000.

The girl was forced to donate eggs eight times since 2017.

The probe revealed that with the help of 25-year-old Surampatti John, the couple had managed to procure a new Aadhaar card with a different name and 1995 as the girl's birth year. The Aadhaar card was then used to pretend the girl was as an adult at the time of egg donation.

The report submitted by the six-member team, headed by Dr A Viswanathan, director of medical and rural health services revealed that "the girl’s actual age is 16 and this was deliberately suppressed." The doctor added, "We have learnt that the child was forced to donate her ova by her own family."

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Fake Consent Letter From a Non-Existent Husband Was Produced: Probe

The report showed that despite knowing that the Aadhaar card submitted by the family was fake, the hospitals misused the document.

The health minister stated that in most egg donation cases, the hospitals ask for copies of both sides of the Aadhaar card to be submitted, but in the minor's case only one side of the Aadhaar card was submitted.

"This showed that the hospitals obtained the girl’s Aadhaar card knowing that it was fake," he said. It has been established that there was commercial donation at these hospitals, minister Ma Subramanian said.

The probe revealed that there were no qualified counsellors at these centres and the ultrasound images were not stored at the hospitals. The hospital did not follow the rules of briefing the girl about the consequences of oocyte donation.

The health department would recommend to the Tamil Nadu Medical Council to take disciplinary action on the respective doctors. “We will take action on the hospitals under the Tamil Nadu Clinical Establishments Act. We are granting the four hospitals 15 days time to discharge all in-patients after treatment. Following this, appropriate steps to shut down the hospitals as per rules will be taken,” Ma Subramanian said.

Also, the family had projected the minor as a married woman and a fake consent letter from a non-existent husband was submitted. As per the ART Act, an oocyte donor aged between 21 and 35 years having at least one child can donate only once in her lifetime.

Steps would be taken as per the law to immediately close down scan centres in these hospitals, the minister said.

“Sudha Hospital, Erode and Vijay Hospital, Hosur are empanelled in the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. We are immediately removing the two hospitals from the scheme,” he said.

As per the ART Act, violators can be fined up to ₹50 lakh and 10 years of imprisonment.

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Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from south-india

Topics:  Tamil Nadu   Erode   Minor 

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