Doctors carrying out sex determination tests are using everyday language and symbols to divulge the gender of the baby to wealthy families.
The results are shared mostly on emails, and are fuelling a business worth Rs 1,500 crore. This is particularly worrying for a state like Maharashtra which loses 4.5 lakh girls every 10 years, 50,000 every year and 148 every day.
This and more startling facts about the thriving sex determination racket were shared by advocate Varsha Deshpande, who runs Lek Ladki Abhiyan, a Satara-based NGO which has been coming down on clinics involved in the scam since 2005.
“The clients in such cases are well-educated, financially sound couples with access to technology. Just like designer saris, women now demand designer babies,” observed Deshpande who is also a member of the National Inspection and Monitoring Committee for PCPNDT (Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques) Act.
Majority of the sonography reports are now emailed. “If the woman is carrying a girl child, the doctor mails an image of a Barbie doll. If it is a boy, there will be a picture of a male doll,” says Deshpande who has made note of several other codes doctors use to reveal the gender of the baby. Among them, Monday for girl and Friday for boy, the number 16 for one boy, 19 for a girl and 29 for twin girls are just some other kinds of codes.
“It is just an attempt to ensure that there is no written proof that the doctor has revealed thesex of the child,” said Kailash Jadhav, co-ordinator, Lek Ladki Abhiyan. Talking about the use of sonography reports to divulge the sex determination results, Jadhav said, “Sonography is essential for the pregnant woman because it helps track complications if any. By using such innocuous code words, the report looks like any other medical report, but...