This Article is From Jan 24, 2011

Exclusive: India's missing daughters

Chandigarh: Gender determination in India is considered a crime and could land one in jail. But few people, in the quest for a boy, still look for ways to determine the gender of a child. Though, it is 21st century and girls now have broken the stereotype to reach unimaginable heights, many still believe boys are the torchbearers of a family.  

So, many Indians are now heading to Thailand which is considered a safe haven for sex determination as clinics here also help them choose a male embryo over a female.

NDTV investigates:

NDTV: Hello, is this the Thailand IVF Centre?

A: Yes, yes, can I get your name?

NDTV:
Vikram

A: Vikram, okay

NDTV: I what to know more about the IVF treatment. We want a boy child

A: Where are you now?

NDTV: I am in Punjab, India

A: Do you have a doctor who can help you with some initial tests?

NDTV: We already have a child, but a girl child

A: Now want a boy? Total cost for procedure and two-week stay in Bangkok will be about 300,000 Baht

NDTV:
Will you help us in getting a boy?

A:
Yes, I will help you. If you produce ten embryos, we can check each embryo and if you have a boy or many boys, we can give back to you

The Thai fertility clinics use Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis, a scan that enables doctors to plant only embryos of the desired gender in the mother's womb.

And Indians make a good section of their clients especially from Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, said the man from the clinic.

In Thailand, gender determination is more of a business. For people who come from a different country, they offer packages including travel and stay costing one between Rs 4 to 6 lakh.

But the question that is being asked is whether there is any law that prohibits this for people who come from countries like India where gender determination is crime? The answer is no.

The Thai law prevails on Indians while they are visiting and in Thailand sex-determination is legal.

''We will file a PIL in the High Court... we want the government to frame a policy to deal with the situation, which has recently risen,'' said Ranjan Lakhanpal, an advocate and social activist.

Practically, it is impossible to screen all couples at departure and on arrival even from select destinations due to logistical constraints. And hence the easy route has become a travesty of the most sensitive and the most significant gender-protection law that exists in India.