New Delhi: Death of a spouse may no longer prevent people in India from having biological children with their partner.
A proposed legislation aimed at addressing issues related to IVF technology has a provision for `posthumous semen banking` which allows freezing of gametes where death of the spouse is imminent.
Under Section 23.6 of the draft Draft Assisted Reproductive Technologies Bill, there is a provision that the collection of gametes from a person whose death is imminent shall only be permissible if such person`s spouse intends to avail assisted reproductive technology to have a child, said Dr R S Sharma, Deputy Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research.
"Any married man who is issueless and whose death is imminent but wishes to have a child, the ART Bank can cryo-preserve i.e. freeze and store his gametes which after
his death can be used to impregnate a woman," he said.
However, he cautioned, "This can only happen is there isconsent of the couple. If it is the dying husband and the wife has no consent in the whole process it cannot be possible.
Parents of the dying person cannot have a say in the whole process."
Sharma said that this provision is also applicable in case of a woman who is on death bed. "If the married man wishes to have a child from his wife who is on death bed, he can get the egg cryopreserved and later with help of a surrogate can have the child."
He said that the draft ART Bill has a provision wherein a child born to a woman artificially inseminated with the stored sperm of her dead husband shall be considered as the legitimate child of the couple.
The Draft Assisted Reproductive Technologies Bill is an initiative of the government to check malpractises by IVF clinics.
"This Bill will help check all malpractises that are prevailing now in various IVF clinics. In the year 2000, we had 150 IVF clinics and now in the year 2011 it has multiplied
so much that the number is unaccountable," Sharma said.