Parents aborting their babies if they're not boys, says research

Following the release of disturbing research suggesting some parents are aborting their female babies because they want a son, several sonographers have spoken out about sex selection.

A new Australian study found sex selection could be occurring in migrant communities, with the research indicating "systematic discrimination against females starts in the womb".

While naturally 105 boys will be born for every 100 girls, the study found that during 2011 to 2015 mothers born in China had 108 boys to every 100 girls, with the bias growing to 125 to 100 if the mother already had two or more children.

The Age also reported that mothers from India and other South-East Asian countries also had higher than expected birth rates of males.

Dr Kristina Edvardsson, the study's lead researcher, said the findings suggested a gender bias where some women are terminating pregnancies after discovering they are expecting a girl. 

She said the bias was persistent in Victoria, where it is illegal to choose the sex of the child other than for medical reasons, but laws had limited effects.

Since the release of the findings earlier this month, several sonographers have spoken out, with one saying the medical professionals should consider the ethics of revealing the baby's sex at the first-trimester scan, when abortions can still be readily performed.

Another recalled the sickening moment a couple apparently said, "We need to know the sex, because if it's a girl we are going to terminate it."

But Australian Sonographers Association chief executive Jodie Long said it would play no part in the debate about sex selection, as what parents did with information about the baby's sex was up to them.

Ms Long said sonographers should continue to provide the information if they are confident about the sex.

That information, while not always accurate, can be provided as early as 10 weeks pregnant due to new blood tests in Australia, while ultrasounds can be used at the 12-week point.


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