Rising concerns amongst the Pune’s Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) committee to control the malpractice of sex determination has lead the authorities to keep a close tab on the city’s pathological labs on the issue.
The authorities believe that while there is now an increased awareness about the sex determination and the ACT supporting the cause; however, the stakeholders determined to follow this malpractice are finding new ways to get the genders test done. As a result, there is move towards inclusion of the many pathological labs in the system; with a rising number of clinics or labs, which collect blood samples for DNA testing and sending it further to foreign countries where sex determination is allowed.
One of the committee members is reported to have implied that they are likely to include the labs in the purview of their vigil act very soon. This move comes in addition to including assisted reproductive technology (ART) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) centres in the list drawn by the vigil administration.
As an immediate redressal to the situation, the authorities are planning to conduct a series of surprise checks and raids on the pathological laboratories. However, Pune’s pathological association has strongly condemned this step, calling it as ‘non-essential’.
As further reported by the Pune Mirror , Dr Sanjay Gupte, past member of the Central Advisory Board for the national PC-PDNT Cell, said, “It has been observed that people collect blood samples to conduct gender tests on fetuses, mainly via DNA or genetic testing. While we in Pune are unaware about exactly how many such cases exist at the moment, we may soon start inspecting path labs under the PC-PDNT Act as well, to keep these practices at bay.”
Dr Vaishali Jadhav, head of the city-based body, said, “There are many ways to discover what people want to know through DNA testing, done within 20 weeks of a pregnancy or even as early as six weeks into a term. It is usually done to look for abnormalities in a foetus, but can also BE misused, increasing our responsibility..”
However, Dr Swapnil Karnik, secretary of the Indian Association of Practising Pathologists, Pune chapter, refuted, “This move is a total waste. It is unnecessary as we do not come under the purview of the PCPNDT Act. We cannot be targeted for the corruption of a few people. Moreover, in Pune, such gender testing via path labs has occurred very rarely. DNA testing is common, but done only when there are chances of malformation in a foetus. This move by PC-PNDT stakeholders is irrelevant.” The body’s president, Dr Shriniwas Gokhale, echoed, “This is unacceptable and pointless, as such activities are done exclusively by genetic labs that, too, very rarely. We do not support this move by PC-PNDT officials at all.”