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Mumbai civic body warns firms on blood tests of pregnant women

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

In a bid to curb sex determination of unborn babies, the local civic body today warned of legal action against companies that send blood samples of pregnant women out of Mumbai or India for testing.

In a release here, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) said some of the blood-related tests conducted on expectant mothers can easily lead to detection of sex of the foetus, which is banned under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT Act).

Companies that market pre-natal tests like NIPT (Non- Invasive Prenatal Test), NACE (Non-Invasive Analysis for Chromosomal Examination) and Amniocore, and send blood samples of pregnant women out of India, or anywhere in India (outside the limits of Mumbai), should immediately stop the activity, it said.

Failing to do so will lead to necessary legal action against the erring companies under the Act, it said.

The pre-natal tests are performed on pregnant women's blood during the 10th to 12th week of pregnancy to detect any chromosomal abnormalities. These tests can also very easily detect the sex of the foetus, MCGM said.

This increases the chance of misuse of the blood test for pre-natal sex determination and sex selection, it said.

The blood test can be misused easily as blood samples can be collected at a centre not registered under the Act.

Illegal blood tests can be done by unauthorised consultants, pathological labs and at times by patients themselves and via samples sent to countries like USA, and China, where there is no PCPNDT Act-like law unlike India that has strong laws to curb female foeticide, the release said.

Tests on pregnant women, that may create an imbalance in male-female sex ratio, are strictly prohibited under the Act, the civic body said.

First Published: Wed, June 04 2014. 22:35 IST