Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhyay discovered the easiest and most successful way of producing a test tube baby. In fact, he was the first Asian to discover such a process but never got his recognition during his lifetime. However, in 2002, after 21 years of his death, ICMR India Council of Medical Research recognised his work for the first time. Some of his remarkable achievements are: Used HMG for ovarian stimulation for IVF; First to use transvaginal approach for ovum pick up; First to cyropreserve human embryos; First to transfer embryo in a subsequent untreated cycle.
Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhyay created history when he became the first physician in India and second in the world after British physicians Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards to perform the In vitro fertilization resulting in a test tube baby “Durga” Kanupriya Agarwal on October 3, 1978. Both Dr. Mukhopadhyay and British scientists Robert G Edwards and Patrick Steptoe — creators of the world’s first test-tube baby — started work at the same time. The Indian baby was born on October 3, 1978, just over two months after Marie Louise Brown was born.
Facing social bureaucratic negligence and insult instead of recognition from the West Bengal government and refusal of the Government of India to allow him passport to attend international conferences, humiliation of transfer to an eye hospital; he committed suicide in his Calcutta residence in 1981.
His feat has been given belated recognition as the Indian physician who in 1986 was “officially” regarded as being the first doctor to perform in-vitro fertilization in India. (extracted from The Untold Story Behind India’s First Test Tube Baby | Scientific Indians.)
Unfortunately Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhyay was employed in a Government hospital. In typical bureaucratic style, on 18 November 1978 a so called ‘expert committee’ was appointed by the Government of West Bengal under the medical association to decide over his claims. His charges were firstly that he claims to be the architect of first human test tube baby named Durga (3 October 1978). Secondly, he announced the report to the media before being cleared by the Government bureaucrats. Thirdly, he made this impossible possible with few general apparatus and a refrigerator in his small southern avenue flat while others cannot even think of it, although, having all the expensive resources in their hand (in this research Dr. Mukhopadhyay was assisted by Sunit Mukherji and S.K. Bhattacharya). Fourth and most important allegation, he never let his head down by the Government Bureaucrats and his straightforwardness always attracted jealousy out of his peers.
The so called expert committee was presided over by a Radio physicist and it was composed of a gynecologist, a psychologist, a physicist and a neurologist. None of them had any knowledge about specialised reproductive technology. “Where did you keep these embryos?” Mukhopahdhyay said “in sealed ampules.” Then he asked again “How did you seal an ampule?” Speechless Mukhopadhyay could only utter “pardon?” From here started a questioning and counter questioning session which need not to be mentioned was utterly meaningless. “Oh! Embryos do not die while sealing?”
Apparently this expert member had never seen embryos his lifetime. The Committee put forward its final verdict, “Everything that Dr. Mukhopadhyay claims is bogus.”( Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subhash_Mukhopadhyay_%28physician%29)
Inquiry Committee approach is more like our around the corner lay policeman with knowledge about every illegal hawker and trader but complete ignorance about forensics. Throughout the human civilization the same fate has been meted out to every genius who arrived before time. For a genius it is difficult to just live and earn; but it is far more natural to be here and to make a difference. By the way Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay, committed suicide on 19th June 1981.
We may hail him today but has any procedure laid down to prevent such calamity on a Government Doctor or employee doing research to improve technology? I do not think so.
Politicians are like children. Only concerned with their toys and play. Oblivious of human beings they are supposed to lead. Just the way it was in Roman Era. Progress in technologies did not result in progressive Humonoids.
(c) Sandeep Bhalla
Typing errors in this post may be attributed to BlackBerry’s spellcheck.