(Reuters) – At 26, with a baby daughter, a Hong Kong mother and her husband wanted a second child. To make sure it would be a boy, they paid $9,000 and flew to Thailand, the last place in Asia where gender selection treatment is available and breaks no law.
“In Chinese tradition, a girl and a boy means good, perfect,” said the mother, who requested anonymity. “There’s nothing wrong with girls, but in Hong Kong and Chinese tradition all families like boys.”
The mother is one of hundreds of women from mainland China, Hong Kong and Australia who visit Bangkok each year for in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the option of choosing the child’s gender by discarding fertilized eggs, or embryos, of the unwanted sex. The only other countries where the technique is permitted and available are the United States and South Africa – in both cases at a higher financial cost.
The dozen or so clinics that offer the service in Bangkok say it gives parents the chance to “balance” the genders in their growing families, but medical authorities want the practice banned…