Hint of foeticide being imported from India

By: admin
Updated: 17 Apr 2012 02:34 AM

New Delhi: Indian women living in Canada are more likely to have
male babies during their second or third deliveries, according to a new
study that hints Indians may have carried the malaise of female foeticide
to Canada. Researchers in Canada have found that the male-female ratio of
babies born to women from India who already have children is significantly
higher than the ratio observed among women from other countries, including

Their analysis of births in Ontario, Canada’s most
populous and ethnically diverse province, has shown that the male-female
ratio of infants was 1.04 among women from India who had no previous
children. But this ratio rose to 1.11 among women with one child, and
climbed to 1.36 — or 136 boys for every 100 girls — in women who had
two children.

The results are published today in the Canadian
Medical Association Journal. “Our findings raise the possibility that
couples from India may be more likely than Canadian-born couples to use
prenatal sex determination and terminate a second or subsequent pregnancy
if the foetus is female,” Joel Ray, assistant professor of medicine at
the University of Toronto, and his colleagues wrote in their paper.

male-female ratio of babies born to Canadian-born women was largely
constant at 1.05 whether the women had previous children or not. The ratio
observed among women from Pakistan changed from 1.04 to 1.09, but always
lower than India’s. Ray and his colleagues analysed more than 766,000
births in Ontario between 2002 and 2007, comparing the sex ratio of
infants born to Canadian-born women with the ratios of infants born to
women from other countries.

Their findings appear consistent with
observations by an independent earlier study in India that suggested that
sections of parents whose first child is a girl abort their second child
if prenatal testing shows it is a female foetus. The earlier study, by
Prabhat Jha, a public health specialist in Toronto, and his collaborators
in India, had shown that declines in girl-to-boy ratios are larger in
educated and richer households in India than in illiterate and poor

“The new results suggest that when Indians move to
Canada, they don’t change their behaviour,” said Faujdar Ram, director
of the Indian Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai, who was a
co-author of the earlier study from India. “It would appear reasonable
to assume that the preference for sons observed in many parts of India and
responsible for India’s declining sex ratio has also been carried to
Canada,” Ram told The Telegraph.

India’s 2011 population
census had revealed the lowest female-to-male sex ratio of children up to
six years since 1961 — 914 girls for every 1,000 boys, reflecting the
country’s failure to curb female foeticide despite laws banning prenatal
sex determination or any form of sex selection. Ray and his co-authors
said whether the observed differences in sex ratios were the result of
prenatal sex selection could be determined through a direct study of sex
selection or pregnancy termination among people from different world
regions. “An analysis of the duration of residence in Canada, access to
fertility care, family income, and parental preferences would be of value
in describing factors that might influence prenatal sex selection,” they
wrote in their paper.

-The Telegraph, Calcutta