IVF PGD Treatment for Baby Boy in India
Author: Dr Arun Muthuvel MBBS, MS, MCh – Reproductive Medicine & Surgery
IVF Specialist at Iswarya Fertility Centre, Chennai, India
This is one of the most controversial topics in IVF Treatment in India. The obsession for boy baby in India is increasing day by day. I feel this topic needs more open debate rather than closing it saying its illegal.
The reason im writing about this is because the rich can get a boy baby by going out of india while the middle class and the poor are not financially capable of going abroad and spending for PGD. Instead they end up doing illegal termination of Pregnancy.
Its time we bring about a change. Let us understand the current situation first.
The obsession for boy baby in India.
The obsession for boy baby doesnt seem to reduce in India due to the social pressures as well as need to have a male heir to their familial possessions.
The Indian system of education has failed to instill the sense of gender equality yet. Blame it on the educational system which emphasizes on admission to MBBS or Engineering etc. Do not forget the right sided attitude of the Indian population who are majoritarily believers and with pre independence era thinking.
Even in Tamil Nadu, which is among the highly progressive and well educated states in India, the demand for gender selection is high. The so called Land of Periyar has failed to progress to the next level yet.
Points raised by Indian couples.
You can judge if these questions are fair.
I already have 2 boys, i need a girl child.
I have 2 girls and i need a boy child to balance my family.
I need a boy child to inherit my property. Both my daughters are married and settled abroad. We feel lonely and we feel the need to have a male child who can stay with us during our old age.
Legality of Gender Selection in India
Govt has made it illegal to use technique or technology to select the gender in India. The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act of 1994 has banned any way to select the gender in India. Govt has taken this step to prevent the use of techniques to select boy baby predominatly as the sex ratio in india is changing rapidly with female child population falling drastically. Not to forget the female infanticide issue in India.
Does it make any sense ?
I believe this rule doesnt make any sense at all. People still continue to perform female infanticide outside the formal means. Women end up in informal setups run by quacks to get rid of the female fetus. Inturn the women are subjected to heavy health and life risks. Where as this can be avoided if the couple are given the choice.
And the important argument is that the rich can get a boy baby by going out of india while the middle class and poor suffer as they are not financially capable of going abroad and spending for PGD.
Advantages if Govt can reverse the rule
I believe that we can reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with female infanticide if there is any legal means to give the choice to the parents. Let the parents decide what they want.
Why should Government change the rule to allow PGD in India for Gender selection ?
The rich people go to Thailand to do IVF with gender selection. They are able to conveniently visit thailand and perform PGD where as Indian middle class and poor people are unable to enjoy the same benefit. Instead they end up with quacks to perform female infanticide which can endanger the life of the woman.
And its not that always couple opt for male child, there are also couples who wish to have a female child. isnt that correct ? And why should couples who already have 2 male or female children be given the option to select the third to balance the family ? Whats wrong in that ?
Why should the government decide on the reproductive right of the parents ? The Government, Instead of playing a moral police, should try to give more benefits to have a female child, more education, more opportunities, etc ,etc.
What is PGD for Gender Selection ?
PGD is a method used to select gender in the embryos outside India. In this technique few cells are removed from embryo prepared through IVF and tested for the presence of Y chromosome. Y chromosome is essential for Male gender. Currently PGD is allowed in India only for screening genetic disorders and not for selecting a gender.
What is the problem with PGD if its allowed in India ?
There is a chance that the couples can use it indescriminately and the end result would be that the number of females would drastically fall compared to males. However this can be reduced by allowing this technique only for Family Balancing and not for Infertility.
I do not use techniques to select the gender during IVF, but i sincerely feel its time the Government changes the rule or atleast attempts to even have a discussion on this. I do agree we may not be so progressive yet at this point of time, but definitely start the discussion guys.