17-yr-old egg donor dead, HC questions fertility centre’s role

FP

Not much is known about Sushma Pandey's death, except that she was 17 years old, died suddenly and had visited a fertility clinic just two days earlier — at least the third time she was doing so in 18 months.

Now, almost two years after she died, Sushma's case may bring under the spotlight the hushed world in which India's assisted reproductive clinics operate — the brief, vacuous Bollywood shine upon them after Vicky Donor notwithstanding.

Allowing the discharge plea filed by the man blamed by Sushma's mother Pramila for her death, Bombay High Court recently pulled up the police for not probing the role of the hospital in the circumstances that led to her death.

"Curiously, the chargesheet does not show that the investigating machinery had proceeded against Rotunda Hospital, which has a record of the victim being an egg donor on three occasions prior to the unfortunate incident, in flagrant violation of the requirement that such a donor has to be between the ages of 18 years and 35 years, when the victim was only 17 years on the last occasion... and she had been donating eggs for at least one-and-a-half years before this," observed Justice R C Chavan.

The person who is alleged to have taken Sushma to the clinic the last time, Samaullah alias Shanu, is also booked in the case. His discharge plea is pending before a sessions court.

Investigations by officers of the Saki Naka police station revealed that Sushma had been going to 'Rotunda — The Centre for Human Reproduction' in Bandra as an egg or oocyte donor, and had visited the hospital in February 2009, October 2009 and possibly February 2010. Hospital records also indicate that Sushma was admitted there on August 8, 2010, at 8.30 am and discharged the same day at 7.30 pm.

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