Sunday, June 04, 2006

Designer babies, Indian style

I've already mentioned the Mercatornet story that highlights, yet again, the use of sex-selection technologies in Asia to selectively abort girls. Today's Sunday Times of India has a front page story (well, at least it's on the front page in the Ahmedabad edition) "Made in US: A boy for Rs. 10 lakh." (1 lakh = 100,000. Rs. 10 lakh = ~$22,000).
With the help of technology that can select the sex of a child at the conceiving stage, desperate Indians are shelling out over Rs 10 lakh to order a male baby.

A top US doctor confirms that among the Indians who visit him, an overwhelming majority ask for a baby boy. Los Angeles-based fertility doctor, Jeffrey Steinberg, who specialises in sex selection treatment, has been seeing a number of Indians travelling all the way to his clinic, Fertility Institutes.
The sex selection technology was primarily meant for identifying embryos that may be carrying fatal genetic diseases. But over the last few years, the technology has been used for choosing the sex of the baby. In fact, the first baby girl was born by sex selection in 1995 using a technology called MicroSort.
("Microsort?" Sheesh!) No blonde hair and blue eyed geniuses here. We just want that extra chromosome. A ladlaa baytaa. So much for "education" being the panacea that leads to "development."

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