Boy, just a boy!

They’re referred to as ‘Bangkok Boys’ on the Page 3 circuit — babies conceived during holidays in the Thai capital. High-flying city couples, some of them prominent on the P3 circuit are travelling to Thailand, where gender selection is legal, to conceive male babies through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

The trend started two years ago, when a Page 3 regular went to Bangkok to conceive a male child after having two daughters. Insiders say at least five well-known couples in Delhi have gone this route.

A fashion designer, who asked not be named, said, “Property inheritance remains the main reason. Industrial families plan holidays that serve as a pretext for a gender planned IVF treatment.”

The couples first try local doctors. Dr Veena Bhat of Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon, says, “The city’s glitterati come to us with the request but we refuse.” Dr Dinesh Kansal of Dr BL Kapur memorial hospital said couples justify their requests by citing reasons like already having daughters.

“We tell them it’s illegal and refuse.” When contacted, Bangkok-based IVF Miracle Baby Clinic mailed us their ‘rate-card’ —  180,000 THB (R2.7 lakh) for ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), with 80,000 THB (R1.18 lakh) extra for gender selection.

The email said, “Don’t worry, we’ll be with you every steps of the way until you bring home a baby boy.” Synphaet Hospital, a prominent fertility clinic in Bangkok, also offered to combine the treatment with a holiday.

A spokesperson of BNH Hospital says, “A lot of Indians come to our hospital for IVF for sex selection. We get about 10 patients every few months. There’s been a drastic increase in the last two years.

It’s illegal here
Pre-implantational genetic diagnosis (PGD), the medical term that refers to the gender selection procedure is legally prohibited in China, India and the whole of Europe, except Turkey.

In the United Kingdom, the procedure is allowed for cases where it is used to screen genetic disorders, and not make gender selection for any other purpose.

Although United States has relaxed laws on the subject, that vary between different states, most US clinics refuse to allow gender selection, except  for the purpose of ‘family balancing’, when the couple already has an offspring of the opposite sex.

In India, both gender selection as well as gender determination of the unborn baby are criminal offences.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. m s dinakar
    Sep 10, 2010 @ 14:56:10


    We take pride in India by calling our country as Mother India…then our numero uno of Gods and Goddesses is Adi Para Shakti – with all the feminist values to it – but then where exactly is this “only-boys” psyche enters into the social/familial picture? …I would blame the politicians for it…do not be hasty in writing off my target of politcians…what have they done to eliminate this gender discrimination at the earliest stage of conception ? so far nothing…again – however redundant it might seem – I got to tell that we are stuck with laws and more laws in the last 60 odd years since Independence…all laws can give probabilities of success…but what we need in India is a re-reconfiguring of the mindsets…if the social-economic logic of gender discrimination is cited…then again what our politicians have been doing all these years about social economics of our lives…

    …its not a far-fetched idea – if only one cares to look deeper into the paradigms – to blame the neo-liberal economic model for gender discrimination … you can count the number of feminist economists in the world…and…interestingly eco-feminist ideas – inclusive of gender equity in the larger domian of eco-conscience – can not be re-configured without rejecting the paradigm of the neo-liberal economic model with its “illusory” money as an almighty unit of exchange! Bye!


  2. Indian Homemaker
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 19:35:29

    Do you think our Patriarchal Joint Family System is responsible for this preference for boy babies? If couples lived in their own homes (Nuclear Family), and parents of either or both could live with them as and when and if required, then daughters will also be seen as ‘budhape ka sahara’?

    Also maybe the children should carry both the parents’ names – as in Sanjay Leela Bhansali (a film maker) or Kislay Usha Chandra (a blogger) – then the parents will not feel only sons can carry family names.


    • Being an Indian Woman
      Apr 28, 2011 @ 11:41:31

      Thanks for posting.
      I wouldn’t consider joint family system as flawed but do feel patriarchial influence to be playing the villain. Our society accepts and even encourages chauvanistic attitude in men and wants its women to be coy. While today men want to marry working women — earning women would be the right description here — they do not want them to feel financial independence at all. This hypocrisy is encouraged far and wide and termed to be so for the greater good of the couple and the family.
      Nuclear or joint family — either cannot succeed if the family continues to run for the “NAME BEARER”. For instance, the holy shastras claim that only if the son lights pyre of his parents, it will lead them to the path of moksha. I feel that the translation should be looked in again as the times when these shastras were written, women were termed liberated…
      I also feel that when daughters are being legal right in the property of her parents, laws should also be framed that they have the responsibilityof taking care of their parents, even after they are married.

      I agree wiht your idea about carrying parents’ names. A lady went to court when her daughter’s school refused to accept her name and sought her husband’s name only.


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