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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 20 September, 2019

  • 4 Min Read

Issues in debate around setting an age limit for IVF

GS-IV: Issues in the debate around setting an age limit for IVF

News

A 74-year-old woman from AP was recently recorded as the oldest in the world to give birth to twins through in-vitro fertilization or IVF. The medical community has expressed ethical and medical concerns over conception at such an advanced age.

Why this is a concern?

  • The average life expectancy of an Indian woman is 70 and of a man 69 and the medical community has expressed concerns over the future of children born to such an elderly couple.
  • Medical technology has reached a stage where we can get even a 90-year-old pregnant. But there are complications that can risk human life.
  • Pregnancy in old age poses multiple risks hypertension, diabetes, convulsions, bleeding, and cardiac complications to name a few.

Can a doctor face action?

  • Internationally this pregnancy is being condemned. Everything could have gone wrong. It sets a wrong precedent for said doctors' organizations.
  • Several experts have demanded punitive action, saying the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) should deregister his Andhra Pradesh centre.
  • But with no law in place, or a Bill pending the assisted reproductive technology (ART) industry continues to operate in a grey zone.
  • In 2005, when ICMR drafted guidelines for ART, it had not set an age limit keeping in mind that reproductive rights were a fundamental right for a woman.

The Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Bill, 2010

  • Globally, an estimated 15% of couples are infertile.
  • The ART Regulation Bill, 2010, states that in the Indian social context, children are “old-age insurance”.
  • The Bill proposes the upper age limit at 45 for women and 50 for men to undergo the IVF procedure.
  • As of now, several centres rely on ICMR’s 2017 guidelines that recommend the same age limits. Even for adoption, the total age of the couple must not exceed 110 years.
  • With increasing life expectancy, doctors are in talks with the government to increase the IVF age limit to 50-52 years for women.

Laws in other countries

  • Most countries have a low range and an upper limit for IVF between 40 and 50 years.
  • In the US, the upper limit for IVF is 50, and for ovum donation, 45.
  • In Australia, guidelines prohibit IVF beyond menopause (52 years).
  • In the UK, 42 is the age limit for women to seek free insurance under National Health Service. In Canada, the age limit is 43.

Source: Indian Express


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