Bioethics News

Medicine in India #2 – IVF for septuagenarians

A woman in India thought to be in her 70s has given birth to a baby boy, sparking outcry in the country and drawing international media attention. Daljinder Kaur gave birth to her son Arman Singh last month, after receiving treatment from a rogue fertility clinic in northern state of Haryana.

The woman’s son is healthy, and Daljinder says she is now a happy mother. “God heard our prayers. My life feels complete now,” she told The Guardian.

Yet most fertility specialists say it was unethical and reckless to provide the woman with IVF treatment. “It is outrageous,” Hrishikesh D. Pai, the former president of the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, told The Australian. “It is inappropriate to do it and it is not in the best interests of the parents or the unborn child to do it.”

Others see controversies like these as indicative of broader regulatory problems in the Indian medical system.

“The whole world is looking at India and saying we can’t regulate ourselves,” Dr Narendra Malhotra, head of the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction, told the Guardian. “We put forward guidelines for ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) clinics seven years ago. No government has taken them seriously, and a bill has been pending for seven years.”

There are also concerns that the child will be an orphan in just a few years. “Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do it, just to make world records”, Dr. Malhotra said. 

This article is published by Xavier Symons and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.