Pre-conception sex selection on rise, affecting child sex ratio: Lawyer
New Delhi: Sex selection of the baby at the pre-conception stage is on the rise, and now a Rs.15 crore business, a lawyer said in New Delhi on Saturday while addressing a symposium on the challenges in the implementation of the law on the issue."The sex determination of foetus pre-conception in the laboratory is on the rise in our country, and has emerged as a lucrative Rs.15 crore business," said advocate Varsha Deshpande, speaking at a symposium in the national capital that deliberated on the implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagonistic Technique Act (PC PNDT), 1994. "Sex determination before the pre-conception stage through selection of chromosomes is not strictly prohibited under the PC PNDT Act," Deshpande explained, adding that procedures exist by which parents opting for in-vitro fertilization procedures might select the sex of the unborn baby without breaking the law of 1994.The PC PNDT Act prohibits sex selection, before or after conception and provides for regulation of prenatal diagnostic techniques for the purpose of detecting disorders and the prevention of their misuse for sex determination, leading to female foeticide.Asha Menon, member-secretary, National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) said: "It is important to check now, as the in-vitro fertilisation unit has resulted in the highest number of male births."As per the 2011 census, Delhi recorded a low child sex ratio of 866 girls to 1,000 boys.The act of 1994 was introduced after ultrasound techniques began to be used in the 1990s to determine the sex of the foetus. The number of female foeticides rose as a result of the technique, and the sex ratio (number of girls for every 1000 boys) showed sharp decline."The situation is becoming extremely serious, with some sections of the media reporting a child sex ratio of 789 girls per 1,000 boys in the last quarter. Hence there is an urgent need for a consolidated effort from the law enforcement agencies and civil society organisations to address this issue at the earliest," Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research, said.
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