India’s IVF pioneer Dr Subhash Mukhopadhyay to be honoured with statue

The creator of India’s first IVF baby, Dr Subhash Mukhopadhyay, has been honoured in his city of birth with a statue to posthumously mark his pioneering achievements

Dr Mukhopadhyay, who died in 1981 aged just 50, was behind the first IVF child born in India in 1978 – just 67 days after the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown in the UK.

The baby, called Kanupriya Agarwal, also known as Durga, was born on October 3, but the physician’s work was not recognised until 2002 by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Dr Mukhopadhyay was never recognised for his work and was allegedly subject to strong criticism by his peers and the left front government neglected his research. He committed suicide just three years after the birth.

The statue was unveiled last weekend in front of the Sadar Hospital, in Hazaribagh, by officials and in the presence of the father of the India’s first IVF baby, Prabhat Agarwal and Sunit Mukherjee, one of Dr Mukhopadhyay’s colleagues.

A teacher of economics at Vinoba Bhave University, of Hazaribagh, Professor Sajal Mukherjee, has spent the past ten years convincing the district administration about Dr Mukhopadhyay’s contribution to medical science.

Prof Mukherjee told the Millennium Post: “We are extremely happy to see that our efforts have been translated into action. The district administration has finally given its consent to set up his statue in an area which is close to the place where he was born. A book has also been published containing articles on Dr Mukhopadhyay.”

Dr Mukhopadhyay’s life and death has been the subject of countless newspaper reviews and inspired the Hindi movie Ek Doctor Ki Maut (Death of a physician), directed by Tapan Sinha, one of the most prominent Indian film directors of his time.

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