Subhash Mukhopadhyay was the first physician in India (and second in the world after British physicians Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards) to perform the In vitro fertilization resulting in a test tube baby “Durga” (alias Kanupriya Agarwal) on October 3, 1978.
The world’s first test tube baby Louise Brown was born just three months earlier on July 25, 1978 in the UK when Edwards’ efforts were crowned by success. Some four million Test-tube babies have been born worldwide since 1978.
Dr Subhash Mukhopadhyay (January 16,1931 – June 19, 1981) was an Indian physician from Calcutta in India. He was educated at the Scottish Church College and later, at the Calcutta Medical College which was then affiliated to the University of Calcutta. His life and death has been the subject of countless newspaper reviews and a Bollywood film directed by Tapan Sinha entitled Ek Doctor Ki Maut (Death of a physician). He created history when he became the first physician in India (and second in the world after British physicians Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards) to perform the first In vitro fertilization resulting in a test tube baby “Durga” (alias Kanupriya Agarwal) on October 3, 1978.
Facing social ostracization, bureaucratic negligence, reprimand and insult instead of recognition from the Marxist West Bengal government and refusal of the Government of India to allow him to attend international conferences, he committed suicide in his Calcutta residence in 1981.
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 fertilization in India. His reinstatement to glory is attributable to Professor TC Anand Kumar who is credited to be the mastermind behind India’s second (officially the first) test-tube baby. Professor Kumar took the crown off his own head after reviewing personal notes of Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay. He was ably helped by Professor Sunit Mukherji, who was a one-time colleague of Dr. Mukhopadhyay. Professor Kumar is currently active in setting up a research institute in reproductive biology in memory of Dr. Mukhopadhyay.