A phenomenon of “missing girls” could be afflicting Victoria, as a new study suggests some parents could be aborting unborn female babies or undergoing embryo selection overseas in order to have a son. Source: The Age.
If nature was left to take its course, it is expected that for every 100 girls born, about 105 boys will be brought into the world.
But in findings researchers say indicate “systematic discrimination against females starts in the womb”, mothers within some key migrant communities are recording sons at rates of 122 and 125 for every 100 daughters in later pregnancies.
Lead researcher Kristina Edvardsson from Melbourne’s La Trobe University said it showed gender bias persisted in Victoria, despite laws banning people from choosing the sex of their child, other than for medical reasons.
“We believe that some women may be terminating pregnancies after discovering they are expecting a girl and in other cases are travelling overseas to access non-medical sex selection services through assisted reproduction,” she said.
Analysing almost 1.2 million births between 1999 and 2015, the study found while the overall ratio of male and female babies born across Victoria was as expected (at close to 105 to 100), there were notable exceptions.
During 2011 to 2015, mothers born in China had about 108 boys to every 100 girls. The bias towards boys was much higher if they already had two or more children, with boys born at a rate of almost 125 to every 100 girls.
Similarly, mothers from India had boys at a rate of about 104 to 100 for their first child. But after their second child, this blew out to almost 122 boys to every 100 girls.
The rate of males born to mothers from some South-east Asian countries was also more than expected.
Dr Edvardsson said after some migrants arrived in Australia they had smaller families, which could mean they were more likely to turn to sex selection to have a son, as simply continuing to have children until a male was born was not a feasible option.