DR.SUBHAS MUKHERJEE AND INDIA’S FIRST TEST TUBE BABY

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ABOUT AUTHOR:
Avlikant J. Dhawale*
RedCross Formulation, Ajanta Pharma, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Department of Biochemistry, Gramin Science College (Swami Ramanand Tirth Marathwada University), Nanded, Maharashtra, India
*dhawale111@gmail.com

ABSTRACT:
Infertility is the inability of an animal or plant to reproduce by natural means. Many people in the world are facing the problem of infertility altimatlely the problem of saving their generations. Today, modern science chalanged and solved the problem of infertility by developing the technique of Test Tube Baby by using principle of in-vitro fertilization.

Dr. Subhas Mukherjee, first Asian who invented most easy and successful method of producing Test Tube Baby. In Culcutta, West Bengal, on 3rd October 1978, the team announced the birth of World's Second Test Tube baby named as 'Durga' (Kanupriya Agarwal). The announcement came 67 days after the birth of World's First Test Tube Baby named as 'Louise Brown in England by Physiologist Robert G. Edwards who awarded the Nobel Prize for such work in 2010. During his lifetime, Government of West Bengal didn't recognized his work. By the day to day insult from government Dr. Subhas Mukherjee committed to suicide.

REFERENCE ID: PHARMATUTOR-ART-2286

PharmaTutor (ISSN: 2347 - 7881)

Volume 2, Issue 12

Received On: 26/09/2014; Accepted On: 10/10/2014; Published On: 01/12/2014

How to cite this article: AJ Dhawale; Dr. Subhas Mukherjee and India’s First Test Tube Baby; PharmaTutor; 2014; 2(12); 99-106

INTRODUCTION
Dr.Mukherjee along with Sunit Mukherjee, a Cryobiologist, and Gynecologist Dr. SarojKanti Bhattacharya, worked on a method of in-vitro fertilization that was used successfully on patient with damaged fallopian tubes. On 3rd October 1978, the team announced the birth of the world's second test tube baby, in Calcutta. The announcement came 67 days after the birth of the first test-tube baby in England. Unlike his counterparts in England, Mukherjee had used gonadotropins for ovarian stimulation, transvaginalcolpotomy to harvest oocytes and cryopreservation of the human embryo. 

To verify his claims, the Government set up a committee that denounced his achievements. Mukherjee was denied leave to write up a detailed report of his results and later to attend a meeting in Japan to discuss his work. As a final act of humiliation, he was transferred to Institute of Ophthalmology as professor of electrophysiology[1]. The insult may have been unbearable for Dr. Mukherjee as he committed suicide in 1981.

In 1997 Mukherjee's papers and handwritten notes on his technique were assessed by T. C. Anand Kumar - former Director of the Institute of Research in Reproduction, Mumbai. Dr. Kumar, who had played a key role in the birth of another test-tube baby in 1986, not only freed Dr. Mukherjee from charges of fraud but also wrote extensively about his pioneering feat. Mukherjee’s method of combining in-vitro fertilization and cryopreservation of human embryos is the currently preferred technique of medically assisted reproduction.[1][2] Today, more than 3 million test tube babies worldwide see the lights of day from Dr. Subhas Mukherjee's discovered method[2].

Dr. Subhas Mukherjee 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[1].

Some of his remarkable achievements are[2, 3]:
Used HMG for ovarian stimulation for IVF First to use transvaginal approach for ovum pick up 

First to cyropreserve human embryos First to transfer embryo in a subsequent untreated cycle

HIS LIFE

1931, 16th January - Born in Hazaribag, Bihar, India[2].

1955 -Obtained M.B.B. S. from National Medical College, Calcutta. Stood First in Gynecology and also obtained Hemangini scholarship. Obtained B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physiology from Calcutta University [2]

1958 - PhD. From Calcutta University in Reproductive Physiology under the stewardship of Prof. SachchidanandaBanerjee[2].

1960 - Marriage with Namita and left for U.K under Colombo Plan to study Endocrine Physiology.

1967- PhD. from Edinburgh in Reproductive Endocrinology, Developed method for estimation of Hormone (LH). He worked at the Clinical Endocrinology Research Institute with Prof. John A. Loraine and obtained his Ph.D. In his research work a new method for assay of LH was found out. In those days no reliable method was available. The Technique depends on ovarian cholesterol depletion of intact immature rats pretreated with PMSG & HCG. He also worked at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh[3].

1967 to 1975- Lecturer, Reader and Professor of Physiology, NRS Medical College, Calcutta. Fundamental Research on the origin of HCG, which was postulated by Theodore Langhans as far back in 1870. He contradicted the view and established that it is of decidual origin rather than trophoblastic in origin. Hence he had to play with the embryos and early stage foetus, which helped him in creating Test Tube Babies. Fundamental work on the use of Testosterone in the management of female infertility. Outstanding hypotheses that stress is related to female infertility, which was presented at the International Conference on physiological sciences held in Paris in July 1977. Later workers are now confirming such relations[3].

1978, 17th August - Invited by the Rotary club of Belur to speak on Test Tube Baby.

1978, 3rd October - Birth of India's first Test Tube Baby was announced. His method was different from that followed by Steptoe & Edwards and it was also the World's first Test Tube Baby from frozen and thawed embryo. He did not undervalue the Indian Science and published his paper in Indian Journal of Cryogenics and presented his findings in the Indian Science Congress, in January 1979[3].

He discussed his experiment in the "Fifth International Congress on hormonal Steroids 1978" held at New Delhi in November - December 1978[6]. He also discussed the matter with Professor John Biggers of the Laboratory of Human Reproduction, Harvard Medical School,.USA and Prof. B. B. Sexena Professor of Bio-Chemistry and Endocrinology of the Cornell University Medical School in the USA and Professor Kenneth Ryan Professor of Gynecology of Havard. He was invited by the Benaras Hindu University to speak on the subject of embryo transfer. He also talked on the subject at Gauhati Medical College at the conference of the Gauhati Obstetrical and Gynecological Society - where he was presented with a "Manpatra" or a scroll of honour [2, 3].

1978, December - Govt. of West Bengal set up an Enquiry Committee which did not acknowledge his claim. As no physiological or biochemical techniques including DNA fingerprinting can distinguish between in - vivo and in - vitro fertilised normal baby, Dr. Subhas Mukherjee categorically stated to all concerned people that he cannot provide a sure proof for his work on IVF and ET. But he also asserted that if there was a genetic marker, through a surrogate, then proof will be obviously established. Even after these long years, as far is known, no country in the world has accepted a legal connotation of a test tube baby on the municipal birth certificate. Some professional bodies also heckled him in some meetings. He was denied Passport to go to Japan where he was invited to speak on IVF & ET. He was later transferred to the Eye dept. of Medical College, Calcutta in June 1981.

1980 - He had an heart attack and was transferred to RG Kar Medical College, Calcutta.

1981, 19th June- Dr. Subhas Mukherjee committed suicide.

HIS WORK
Dr. Subhas Mukherjee initially started working on pharmacological methods of inducing ovulation and spermatogenesis, first on animals and later on human subjects. He worked on the luteotropic effects of DHEA and testostorone in rats and humans. He developed bioassays and biochemical methods to demonstrate the presence of a substance similar to HCG in the non-pregnant human endometrium and speculated on its possible role in fetal development. His investigations into the causes of the acyclicity of the menstrual cycle in arnenorrhoric women led to insights about polyeystic ovaries. He was also among the first to link emotional stress with polycystic disease[3].

Mukherjee along with Prof. Sunit Mukherjee, a cryobiologist, and a gynecologist Dr. SarojKanti Bhattacharya, worked on a method of in vitro fertilization that was used successfully on a patient with damaged fallopian tubes. On 3 October 1978, the team announced the birth of the world's second test tube baby in Calcutta. The announcement came sixty seven days after R. G. Edwards and Patric Steptoe had announced the birth of first test tube baby in England. Unlike the counterparts in England, Mukherjee had used gonadotropins for ovarian stimulation, transvaginalcolpotomy to harvest ooeytes and cryopreservatinn of the human embryo.

Mukherjee presented his findings at the International Congress on Hormonal Steroids at New Delhi in 1978 and at the Indian Science Congress at Hyderabad in 1979.

In 1997, Mukherjee's papers and handwritten notes on his technique were assessed by Dr. T.C. Anand Kumar, formerly Director of the institute of Research in Reproduction, Mumbai. Dr. Kumar, who had played a key role in the birth of another test tube baby horn in Mumbai (1986) wrote extensively about his pioneering feat. Mukherjee's method of combining in vitro fertilization and cryopreservation of human embryos is the currently preferred technique of medically assisted reproduction[3, 4].

Dr. Subhas Mukherjee's salient achievements are:
Dr. Mukherjee was the first to successfully use human menopausal gonadotrophins (hMG) for ovulation stimulation in an IVF programme to ensure the availability of multiple ovarian follicles for aspiration. hMG is now routinely used all over the world in IVcprogrammes and the credit for its first time use has been given to Howard Jones in USA, who discovered it after three years of Dr. Mukherjee. [4]

Dr. Mukherjee was the first to approach the ovaries via the vaginal route by posterior colpotomy. The transvaginal route is the most widely used approach to the ovaries for follicular aspiration under ultrasonographic guidance.

Dr. Mukherjee was the first person to have succeeded in freezing and thawing human embryos using a reagent (DMSO) which is now very commonly used for freezing embryos. Though, the Australian team headed by Trounson is credited for being the first to make this discovery in the 1980s.

Dr. Mukherjee was the first to have aspirated oocytes in a stimulated cycle, fertilize them invitro and freeze the embryos in that cycle, recover and thaw and transfer them into the uterus during the following natural cycle. This Procedure is been followed by several other clinics successfully now[4,5].

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