Health ministry sends notice to Punjab govt over IVF treatment of Moosewala’s mother | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Health ministry sends notice to Punjab govt over IVF treatment of Moosewala’s mother

By, Vishal Joshi, New Delhi/bathinda
Mar 21, 2024 07:16 AM IST

The Assisted Reproductive Technology Act of 2021 allows IVF and other fertility treatments only for women under age 50 and men under 55. Kaur is 58 and her husband, Balkaur Singh, is 60.

Sidhu Moosewala’s mother, Charan Kaur, gave birth to a boy on March 17, nearly two years after her famous singer son was killed, completing a pregnancy ostensibly conceived through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which appeared to violate laws regulating assisted reproductive technology.

Balkaur Singh with his newborn in Bathinda. (PTI)
Balkaur Singh with his newborn in Bathinda. (PTI)

The Assisted Reproductive Technology Act of 2021 allows IVF and other fertility treatments only for women under age 50 and men under 55. Kaur is 58 and her husband, Balkaur Singh, is 60.

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“It came as a surprise how they managed this pregnancy through IVF because it is clearly in violation of the ART law,” said Dr RS Sharma, who helped draft the Act. “This should be looked into.”

On Wednesday, the Union health ministry sent a notice to Punjab’s government seeking details about the IVF procedure. The district health department in Bathinda has secured records from the private hospital where Kaur gave birth.

The district health department and Moosewala’s family are silent on whether Kaur got the assisted pregnancy procedure in India or abroad.

The child was born at the Jindal Heart Institute and Infertility Centre in Bathinda. Dr Rajni Jindal, who oversaw the birth, said Kaur did not undergo IVF at her hospital. She said Kaur came in the fourth month of pregnancy with bleeding and remained under the hospital’s care until delivery.

Singh, Kaur’s husband, alleged harassment by authorities.

“The government is now troubling me, asking me to prove his legal status,” Singh wrote on Facebook. “I want to request the CM (Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann) that please let me get the treatment done, then I will come wherever the government calls me.”

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab accused the federal government of overreach.

“The BJP-ruled central govt has sought a report from Govt of Punjab regarding IVF treatment of Smt. Charan Singh. CM Bhagwant Mann always respects the sentiments & dignity of Punjabis, it’s the Central Govt that has asked for the documents,” the party wrote.

But a state health official, speaking anonymously, said the federal government only requested information, which is normal for an apparent violation of guidelines designed to protect against health risks of late-life pregnancies.

Bathinda civil surgeon Dr Tejwant Singh Dhillon said at no point did the health department approach Moosewala’s family directly. A team of doctors visited an infertility centre located on the Power House Road on Tuesday, Dhillon added.

Opposition Congress party leader Amarinder Singh Raja Warring criticised the state government.

“It is utterly reprehensible for the Punjab government to demand IVF certifications at this juncture. Is it conscionable to subject them to such scrutiny during this period? Why can’t the government wait?” Warring said.

In 2016, a 72-year-old woman gave birth via IVF, prompting debate about the ethics of advanced-age pregnancies.

“There was a reason why we put an upper limit in the Act as it can be unfair to the child in the long run to have such old parents,” said Sharma, who was with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Rhythma Kaul works as an assistant editor at Hindustan Times. She covers health and related topics, including ministry of health and family welfare, government of India.

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