Subhash Mukhopadhyay (physician)

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Subhash Mukhopadhyay
সুভাষ মুখোপাধ্যায়
Born(1931-01-16)16 January 1931
Hazaribagh, Bihar, British India (now in Jharkhand, India)
Died19 June 1981(1981-06-19) (aged 50)
NationalityBritish Indian (1931–1947) Indian (1947-1981)
Occupationphysician, gynaecologist

Subhash Mukhopadhyay (Bengali: সুভাষ মুখোপাধ্যায়) (16 January 1931 – 19 June 1981) was a Bengali physician from Hazaribagh, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), India, who created the world's second and India's first child using in-vitro fertilisation, Durga who was born in 1978, just 67 days after the first IVF baby in United Kingdom.[1] Unfortunately, Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay was harassed by the state government, and not allowed to share his achievements with the international scientific community. Dejected, he committed suicide on 19 June 1981.[2][3]

His 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.[4]

Early life[edit]

He was born to a Bengali family on 16 January 1931 in Hazaribagh, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), India. He studied and graduated (in 1955) with an honours degree in physiology from the Calcutta National Medical College, which was then affiliated with the prestigious University of Calcutta.[5] He later earned a doctorate from the University of Calcutta in 1958 reproductive physiology under the stewardship of Prof. Sachchidananda Banerjee. Later he earned a second doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in 1967 in reproductive endocrinology,


He created history when working with Sunit Mukherji, a cryobiologist, and gynecologist Dr. Saroj Kanti Bhattacharya he became the first physician in India (and second in the world after British physicians Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards) to perform the In vitro fertilisation resulting in a test tube baby "Durga" (alias Kanupriya Agarwal) on 3 October 1978.[6][7][8]

Facing social ostracisation, bureaucratic negligence, reprimand and insult instead of recognition from the West Bengal government,[9][10] and refusal of the Government of India to allow him to attend international conferences,[10] he committed suicide in his Calcutta residence on 19 June 1981.[4][10]

His feat has been given belated recognition as the Indian physician who in 1986 was officially regarded as being the first doctor to perform in-vitro fertilisation in India.

His recognition is attributable to T. C. Anand Kumar who is credited to be the mastermind behind India's second (officially the first) test-tube baby. Kumar took the crown off his own head after reviewing Subhash Mukhopadhyay's personal notes. He was ably helped by Sunit Mukherji, who was a one-time colleague of Mukhopadhyay. Kumar is currently active in setting up a research institute in reproductive biology in memory of Mukhopadhyay.

A film Ek Doctor Ki Maut directed by Tapan Sinha was made on his life.[4]

Late recognition[edit]

An insulting silence carried on with every passing day. According to scientific records, Harsha vardhan reddy buri (born 16 August 1986) become the first human test tube baby of India. The credit for this achievement went to T. C. Anand Kumar, Director of IRR (ICMR).[11] In 1997, he went to Kolkata to participate in a Science Congress. It was there that all the research documents of Mukhopadhyay were handed over to him. After meticulously scrutinising and having discussions with Durga's parents, he became certain that Mukhopadhyay was the architect of first human test tube baby in India.[11] This eminent scientist once mentioned in a journal[11] on ‘A critique of Mukherjee 's technique'The brief description given by Mukherjee in his letter dated 19 October 1978 to the Director of Health Services, Government of West Bengal, the reports he gave over the television interviews and reported in the lay press describe how Mukherjee carried out the procedure of in vitro fertilisation.[11]

On T.C. Anand Kumar’s initiative, Mukhopahdhyay was mentioned as the architect of first Indian test tube baby in a document related to the subject of artificial intercourse in ICMR.[citation needed] India’s first test tube baby "Durga", whose parental name is Kanupriya Agarwal, works in a Multinational Company as a Marketing Executive in Delhi.[11][12] On her 25th birthday she first exposed her identity in a ceremony organised in the memory of Mukhopahdhyay.[12] She spoke about her creator in front of the media and proved once again that her creator's claim was not bogus.[12]

In the 'Dictionary of Medical Biography,’ published by World Foundation, enlists names of 1100 Medical Scientists from 100 countries around the world for their path breaking contributions to the medical science, Dr. Mukhopadhyay's name is one of those names.[13] What is more ridiculous is that after his death, in 1981, one by one three scientists Howard Jones, Gleicher and Trounson (Australia) in three separate research claimed the invention of Human test tube baby. All these three research were already successfully accomplished by Mukhopadhyay long before their time. One of these scientists even found his research published in the famous Journal Nature.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Is an "Indian Crab Syndrome" Impeding Indian Science? Retrieved 20 August 2013
  2. ^ "IVF Pioneer Wins Nobel Prize in Medicine". 10 May 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Beautiful Mind: The story of Dr. Subhas Mukherjee creator of India's first test-tube baby - Times of India"
  4. ^ a b c "Subhash Mukhopadhyay - the unlucky doctor behind India's first Test-tube baby". 4 October 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  5. ^ Site on Dr Mukherjee
  6. ^ "India reveals deep frozen test-tube baby", K. S. Jayaraman, New Scientist, 19 Oct 1978
  7. ^ "Test tube triumph & tragedy - Nobel for UK scientist stirs memory of a Bengal doctor". The Telegraph (Calcutta). 5 October 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Medicine Nobel for IVF pioneer". Hindustan Times. 4 October 2010. Archived from the original on 21 October 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Architect of India's first test tube baby: Dr Subhas Mukerji (16 January 1931 to 19 July 1981)", Current SCience, Vol. 72, No.7, 10 April 1997
  10. ^ a b c "Honour fails to cheer doctor's wife". The Times of India. 14 October 2003. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Late honour for test tube pioneer". The Times of India. 8 January 2004. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Ghosh, Aditya (19 August 2005). "It's official: Kanupriya's India's first test-tube girl". DNA. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  13. ^ Infertility of Indian Establishment Retrieved 20 August 2013

External links[edit]