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Hospitals suspected of leaking babies' sex
Latest Updated by 2006-12-08 09:39:14

HOSPITALS and maternity and childcare centers in Shenzhen are offering a new service, which suspected allows parents to illegally determine their baby's gender, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported Thursday (Dec 7).


The service includes selling parents images of the fetus recorded during a color ultrasonic B test and recording the whole process on a compact disc, according to a six-month pregnant woman quoted by the newspaper.


The woman, only identified as Zhang, went to Nanshan Maternity and Childcare Center for an ultrasonic B test recently, and was told of the service on offer. Zhang then bought a print, from which her mother was able to immediately identify the baby's gender.


"You won't have a difficult time telling the baby's sex by looking at such a clear print," said Zhang's mother.


However, gynecologists at the center denied any wrongdoing, saying the service on offer does not include gender identification.


They argue that the three-dimensional color ultrasonic B test is used to prevent genetic diseases or malformation at an early stage of a fetus' development, to the benefit of both baby and parents.


However, the technology also provides a clear image of fetus, from which even a non-medical professional can tell the gender, the Daily quoted an unnamed senior gynecologist as saying.


A brief investigation by the newspaper shows that some hospitals do not allow anybody to accompany a pregnant woman during the ultrasonic test, nor are prints provided, while other hospitals allow company and provide prints and discs, with the fees included in the test expenses.


However, some pregnant women who have bought the print or a disc said some hospitals charge an additional 30 yuan (US$3.82) for a print, and 50 yuan for a disc.


A doctor at Sunshine Hospital said most of the hospital's clients are pregnant for six months or above, an advanced stage of a pregnancy. "It would be very dangerous if a woman chose to undergo an abortion after she discovers the baby's gender at this point of time," he said.


But there have been such cases. A man who was waiting outside a test room at Sunshine Hospital said a friend of his did have an abortion after the couple discovered the baby's sex.


Meanwhile, some couples said they bought the print and disc as a souvenir, and later will show it to their children when they grow up.


"I want to show my child how a baby comes into being with the print in the future," Zhang said.


Gan Yongming, a lawyer with Guangdong Chenggong Law Firm said such a practice does not technically breach the law, which bans fetus gender identification. But it certainly needs to be strictly regulated, he added.


The municipal health bureau has vowed a thorough investigation into the issue.


Editor: Wing

By:Wei Jie Source:Szdaily web edition
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