As Hindustan Times reported that hundreds of girl children in Indore are being operated on to turn them into boys, the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Madhya Pradesh health department on Sunday recommended measures to ensure that parents hankering for male children don’t exploit such ‘corrective’ surgeries with the help of corrupt doctors.
The procedure, called genitoplasty, is recommended only for those children whose internal organs don’t match their external genitalia (for instance, someone who has male internal organs but female genitals and female hormone).
The MCI has called for the formation of a medical board of experts to decide on the need for such a surgery in every case, and stringent checks in all cities.
"There should be a medical board to decide if the surgery is medically required. It has to be a responsible decision made by a panel and not a decision between a parent and a doctor," said Prof Gautam Sen, member, board of governors, MCI, and director of surgical education, Association of Surgeons of India (ASI).
The state health department, on its part, has decided to seek documents and records from doctors who conducted such surgeries in Indore.
"There should be a strict procedure such as photographing and videotaping surgeries and giving proper justification for conducting them,” said Dr Sharad Pandit, joint director in the department. He has decided to call a meeting with the ASI’s Indore branch and the Nursing Home Association to discuss the matter.
Dr CP Kothari, president of ASI’s Indore branch, said, “If the health department asks us to furnish the details, we will ask all paediatric surgeons to provide us the information.”
Dr Kothari named the doctors who had performed such surgeries and said they will be asked to furnish details.
They are Dr BR Parikh, Dr Sangram Singh, Dr Milind Joshi, Dr Manish Patel, Dr Brijesh Lahoti, Dr Shashi Shankar Sharma, Dr Mayur Maheswari and Dr Rajneesh Kutumble - Dr Joshi, who had earlier spoken in favour of the surgeries, on Sunday said he had been misquoted.
State health minister Narottam Mishra said, "I have asked for the documents and will also look into the matter."
Those who don't need the surgery, said medico-legal expert Shirish Deshpande, should be accepted by society.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has reportedly asked the state government to investigate the matter. Such surgeries — on children as young as 1-5 years old — are rampant in Indore's clinics and hospitals. The city's genitoplasty experts say each of them have turned 200-300 girls into 'boys' so far. The low cost of surgery (Rs 1.5 lakh), relatively easy and unobtrusive ways of getting it done and vague laws are even attracting parents from Delhi and Mumbai.