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Remembering the doctor who created India's first and world's second test tube baby

25 July, 2021 11:26:25
Remembering the doctor who created India's first and world's second test tube baby

He not only discovered the first invitro fertilization technique of India, under him the first test tube baby of India, Durga, was born in 1978. Yet Dr Subhash Mukhopadhyay of Kolkata never got his due recognition. Instead he was ridiculed by his own colleagues, ostracized, transferred to a remote rural hospital without research facilities. Finally, out of frustration Dr Mukhopadhyay committed suicide. Many decades later, the world recognized him to be one of the pioneers of invitro fertilization techniques of the world. His discovery was not just a feat in India, but in the whole world. What did he get in return? Ostracism, bureaucratic negligence, reprimand and insult. A doctor’s research for life went into the drains instead of being recognised.

The first test tube baby of India, Durga was born under Dr Mukhopadhyay just 67 days after the first test tube baby of the world was born in England! However, a large section of the then medical fraternity of Kolkata were after his life and not just mocked and ridiculed his research feat, but drove him to commit suicide. It was only after Dr T.C. Anand Kumar, who was earlier recognized as creating the first test tube baby of India in 1986 announced and recognized at the Indian Science Congress that it was Dr Subhash Mukhopadhyay who should get the credit, that the world learnt of his story. 


Dr Mukhopadhyay even developed a technique of embryo freezing to avoid egg wastage. This was far ahead of his times. Unfortunately, in the ’70s none of his colleagues had the acumen to even tried to understand the science used behind this technique. Professional jealousy was so rampant that the doctor who should have been hailed for his discovery was instead transferred from one government hospital to another and finally shunted to the Regional Institute of Opthalmology in Kolkata in 1981. The hospital did not even have a physiology department and Dr Mukhopadhyay was so dejected and frustrated that he took his own life a few weeks later.

Surprisingly, even later governments of Bengal or even India did not give this doctor his due recognition. Not even to his wife who supported her husband and did not even have a child and start a family, so that he could relentlessly pursue his research!

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