Here as promised the second person in my unsung hero list is Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay, born in Hazaribagh, Bihar on 16th Jan of 1931.
He was a double Ph. D holder (one in reproductive physiology and the other one in reproductive endocrinology). His professional career was Lecturer, Reader and Professor of Physiology, NRS Medical College, Calcutta. He also worked at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh during 1967.
So those who are confused why this person was an unsung hero let me tell you. I think I have to come up with 2 articles for him (part 1 & part 2). Because there are a lot to know about this great person.
He was the man who discovered the easiest and most successful way of producing a test tube baby. In fact he is the first Asian to discover such process.
Though his experiment succeeded in 1978 October, however he got his recognition only in 2002, disastrously 21 years after he died…
How should I address him …? Father or Architect or Creator or with some other name…? He succeeded in performing In vitro fertilisation process… Durga’s birth was the result of the process.
Let’s see in glimpse about the In vitro fertilization process …
In the recent days, the term test tube baby was getting to be known by people. But still there are so many who though know what that mean, they don’t have clear idea…
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common and most effective type of technology to help women become pregnant. Some women are unable to become pregnant through natural or unassisted conception and have to undergo fertility treatment to become pregnant.
If less expensive fertility techniques do not work, some women may decide to opt for IVF. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, about 1% of U.S. infants are conceived through IVF. IVF procedure usually involves 3 steps…
Now Back to Durga
Dr. Mukhopadhyay along with two members, worked on a method of in-vitro fertilization that was used successfully on patient with damaged fallopian tubes. The world’s second test tube baby was born on October 3, 1978 in Calcutta. The announcement came 67 days after the birth of the first test-tube baby in England.
To verify his claims, the Government set up a committee that deprecated his achievements. Dr. Mukhopadhyay was denied leave to write up a detailed report of his results and later to attend a meeting in Japan to discuss his work. More than this, he was transferred to Institute of Ophthalmology as professor of electrophysiology which was the utmost act of mortification to his achievement.
And the transfer completely disappointed Dr. Mukhopadhyay and he was under constant worry because of facing social ostracization. Also the bureaucratic negligence and insult instead of recognition from the Government and refusal of the Government of India to allow him to attend International conferences made him end his life. He committed suicide in 1981.
The Sad & Shameful Denouncement:
To verify his claims, the Government set up a committee that denounced his achievements.
18th November 1978. An ‘expert committee’ was appointed by the Government of West Bengal to decide over the fate of a convict named Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhyay under the Medical Association.
His charges are,
- He claims to be the architect of a human test tube baby named Durga (3rd October, 1978)
- He denounced the report to the media before being cleared off by the Government bureaucrats
- 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 Prof. Sunit Mukherjee and Dr. S.K Bhattacharya.)
- He never let his head down by the Government Bureaucrats and his straightforwardness always attracted jealousy out of his peers
The committee was comprised of a gynecologist, a physiologist and a neurophysiologist. Interestingly, none of them were having any knowledge about modern reproductive technology. The question came from one of the expert “Where did you keep these embryos?” Dr. Mukhopadhyay said “in sealed ampules.” Then he asked again “How did you seal an ampule?” Surprised Dr. Mukhopadhyay replied “as usual by heating”. From here started a questioning and counter-questioning session, which needs not to be mentioned, was utterly meaningless. “Oh! Embryos do not die of heat while sealing?” there were people who never saw embryos in the entire span of their lifetime!
The Committee put forward its final verdict, “Everything that Dr. Mukhopadhyay claims is bogus.” The justice was predetermined before verifying from Dr. Mukhopadhyay’s alleges. There is a saying, adding oil to the fire, the same way this insult was the crown of his stress.
In 2002, The Indian Council of Medical Research acknowledged his contributions with regard to the work on IVF and recorded it in their document “National Guidelines for Accreditation, Supervision and Regulation of ART Clinics in India”
Finally he was recognized and rewarded for his contributions to the Medical History after 21 years of his death.
Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhyay is still respected and remembered as someone who invented the most efficient process for the birth of test tube babies. In Sao Paulo, during the eve of 30 years completion of IVF, Brazilian Medical Society recognized and honored him for his incredible achievements. x
Many of us think that Dr. T. C. Anand Kumar was considered as the first person to succeed in this test tube baby process. Earlier officially, “Harsha” (born on 16th August 1986) become the first human test tube baby of India. But thanks to Dr. Kumar since he very admirably acknowledged the rightful place of Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhyay and officially made him the pioneer of the first test tube baby of India.
Today, more than 3 million test tube babies worldwide see the light of day from Dr. Subhas Mukhopadhyay’s discovered method. But painfully enough in India, he was still unknown to us.
In Dr. T.C. Anand Kumar’s initiative Dr. Mukhopadhyay is mentioned as the architect of first human test tube baby in a document related to the subject of artificial intercourse in ICMR India’s first test tube baby “Durga” whose parental name is Kanupriya Agarwal works in a Multinational Company as a Marketing Executive in Delhi. On her 25th birthday she first time exposed her identity in a ceremony organize in the memory of Dr. Mukhopadhyay. She spoke about her creator in front of media and proved once again that her creator’s claim was not bogus.
Who is to be blamed for the injustice to Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay? Will we regret for this? Should we judge someone by the color of his skin and not by their work?