The 1970s saw an intense competition between scientifically advanced nations in producing the 1st test tube baby. The Americans were almost there but their own quagmire of legal laws handed over the victory to Dr. Robert Edwards of the UK. History was created when the first IVF baby, Louis J Brown was delivered on 25th July 1978.
67 days later, a lesser known gynaecologist from Calcutta, now renamed Kolkata, Dr. Subhash Mukherjee, claimed to have delivered the world’s 2nd IVF baby successfully. He received no publicity for this great achievements. Not only had the press, the entire Medical fraternity in India ganged it as fake news.
The Medical Council of India, (MCI) deemed it was not possible because he was not a laparoscopic surgeon, lacked a proper lab, and lacked the services of a physiologist and embryologist. He was instructed to stop talking about his achievement. When he persisted, he found himself deregistered by the Council.
He was invited by the Australian College of Gynaecologist to present a paper on IVF. He turns up at the airport to find that his passport has been cancelled by the so called liberal and progressive Congress government, supported by the Leftist cabal. He was repeatedly questioned by the various medical committees – the members who had completely zero knowledge of the IVF process. He faced ostracisation, bureaucratic negligence, reprimand and insult Depression took over him. Finally he decided he has had enough and committed suicide on 19/06/1981.
Eight years later, in 1986, Dr. Anand Kumar was credited to having delivered India’s 1st IVF baby. He could have just taken the accolade and moved on. But he remembered Dr. Subhash Mukherjee’s claims. He wrote to the International Federation of Fertility Society (IFFS) to investigate Dr. Subhash’s scientific claims.
The IFFS soon set up a team and started their independent investigations, following the request. They first established that the child was genetically related to the parents.
Secondly they established that the mother had both her tubes removed in previous surgeries. Therefore there is no way she could have conceived naturally.
The team was able to access the full treatment records. To their utmost amazement, it was established that the fertilised egg was not implanted straight away but was kept frozen to be implanted in a subsequent cycle. This was a medical first in this field.
In 1988, seven years after his untimely death, IFFS officially recognised Dr. Subhash Mukherjee as having delivered the world’s second IVF baby which also happens to be the world’s first using a frozen embryo.
What a tragedy to befall on a man who achieved so much. Had the present forward looking government been in power, he would have received recognition by none other than the PM himself, like the great achievement, which the Indian virologists did to the nation by developing indigenous ‘Made in the nation vaccine’, which helped in vaccination of the nation and brought down the vaccine rates in the entire world and by its ‘Vaccine Maieyetri’ vaccinated many nations free of cost in the least developing countries.
Doctors need no enemies. Their fraternity is enough to pin down their own man.