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Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay


On 3rd October, 1978; the auspicious day of Durga Pooja, a baby (later named Durga) was born. However, the specialty of the case was that this baby was the first baby born through in-vitro fertilization. Well! Herein, I wish to tell you the story of Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay, the unsung hero whose efforts were characterized as bogus by the Indian bureaucrats.

In Kolkata, Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay was working with two of his colleagues, Dr. S.K Bhattacharya (gynecologist) and Prof. Sunit Mukherjee (cryobiologist) in a small apartment with handful of equipments in order to help the Agarwal couple to have a baby. Due to certain reasons, the couple could not have a baby naturally thus; they had to switch over in-vitro fertilization which was a budding process across the world. Due to his perseverance, Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay succeeded in the first alive test-tube baby in the world. It is notable that Durga was born 67 days after the recognized test tube baby, Louis Brown from England.

In order to get recognized and accredited for his success, Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay not only tried to approve his work but also found an opportunity to announce his research at the International Conference which was to be held at Japan. However, the Indian Government charged him over falsehood and an Expert Committee was set up to look into the matter. It is notable that the committee members had not seen the embryos in their entire lifespan thus, they were not ready to believe that Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay did a miracle with a small refrigerator and produced the zygote into ampoules which were sealed by heating. Ultimately, Dr. Mukopadhayay was insulted and his was titled as fraud. His work did not get recognition in his entire lifetime. Due to the unbearable insult, Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay lost confidence and ultimately he committed a suicide in 1981. It was in 1986; Dr. T. Anand Kumar wrote extensively about Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay’s work and helped him gain his dignity.

Therefore, the story had a tragic end as the world lost Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay, a diligent genius who would have taken sciences to invincible heights.  It is noteworthy that Dr. Mukopadhayay had two doctorate degrees, one in Reproductive Physiology from the University of Calcutta while other from the University of Edinburgh in Reproductive Endocrinology. It is notable that in the year 2010, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was given to Robert G. Edwards due to his pioneering efforts in the IVF as it was under his guidance that Louis Brown was born who is the first recognized test-tube baby of the world.

To conclude, Indians are no doubts talented but unfortunately the Indian bureaucratic system in never able to recognize the efforts and talents of the person. It is highly unfortunate that we were not able to save Dr. Subhas Mukopadhayay but the most unfortunate fact is that all his efforts and research were considered as bogus thus, insulting him heavily despite of the fact that, Ms. Durga alias Kanupriya Agarwal is still alive and being an MBA graduate from the Symbiosis, Pune; she is working in New Delhi. However, due to the efforts of Dr. Anand; the International Science Committee recognized the efforts of Dr. Subhas Mukpadhayay in the year and today, he is considered as the first Asian pioneering the research and culture of in-vitro fertilization.