Tamil Nadu: Minor girl forced to sell oocytes, health department begins probe

The team met the 16-year-old girl, who hails from Erode district in western Tamil Nadu, and conducted inquiries for nearly three hours at a Government-run home where she has been lodged after being rescued

N ChithraUpdated: Sunday, June 05, 2022, 07:52 PM IST
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Chennai: A sordid tale of exploitation of a minor girl by her mother, male companion and two others has come to light in Tamil Nadu with the girl accusing them of forcing to sell her oocyte to private hospitals. While the accused including her mother and companions were arrested, a six-member team from the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services commenced a deeper inquiry into the case on Sunday.

The team met the 16-year-old girl, who hails from Erode district in western Tamil Nadu, and conducted inquiries for nearly three hours at a Government-run home where she has been lodged after being rescued.

The girl was staying with her mother Indira alias Sumiya following the latter’s estrangement with her husband. Indira’s male companion Syed Ali allegedly sexually abused the girl. In a complaint to the police, she alleged that the abuse was going on for five years and she was taken to different private hospitals in Erode and its surrounding districts since 2017 where she was forced to sell her oocytes. She alleged Rs 20,000 was paid to her mother during each visit and a woman Malathi, who acted as an intermediary, received Rs 5,000 as commission. Another accused John had got her a forged Aadhaar card under an assumed name to make it appear she had attained the age of majority.

The complaint blew the lid off an illegal egg donation racket in the district, which has numerous infertility clinics and a case was registered under the POCSO Act. All accused were arrested last week.

“We have taken the girl’s statement. Based on what she revealed, we will be visiting hospitals in Erode and other places to take statement from the staff and initiate further action,” A Viswanathan, Joint Director of Medical and Rural Health Services told journalists. He said action including cancellation of licenses would be taken against hospitals found guilty of the illegal extraction of oocytes. Doctors, if they were complicit in the crime, will also face action, he added.

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