Boy oh boy

Rich Delhi couples travel to Bangkok to ensure male heirs.

entertainment Updated: Aug 18, 2010 01:19 IST
Neha Sharma
Neha Sharma
Hindustan Times

They’re referred to as ‘Bangkok Boys’ on the Page 3 circuit — babies conceived during holidays in the Thai capital. High-flying city couples, some of them prominent on the P3 circuit are travelling to Thailand, where gender selection is legal, to conceive male babies through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

The trend started two years ago, when a Page 3 regular went to Bangkok to conceive a male child after having two daughters. Insiders say at least five well-known couples in Delhi have gone this route.

A fashion designer, who asked not be named, said, “Property inheritance remains the main reason. Industrial families plan holidays that serve as a pretext for a gender planned IVF treatment.”

The couples first try local doctors. Dr Veena Bhat of Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon, says, “The city’s glitterati come to us with the request but we refuse.” Dr Dinesh Kansal of Dr BL Kapur memorial hospital said couples justify their requests by citing reasons like already having daughters.

“We tell them it’s illegal and refuse.” When contacted, Bangkok-based IVF Miracle Baby Clinic mailed us their ‘rate-card’ — 180,000 THB (R2.7 lakh) for ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), with 80,000 THB (R1.18 lakh) extra for gender selection.

The email said, “Don’t worry, we’ll be with you every steps of the way until you bring home a baby boy.” Synphaet Hospital, a prominent fertility clinic in Bangkok, also offered to combine the treatment with a holiday.

A spokesperson of BNH Hospital says, “A lot of Indians come to our hospital for IVF for sex selection. We get about 10 patients every few months. There’s been a drastic increase in the last two years.

It’s illegal here
Pre-implantational genetic diagnosis (PGD), the medical term that refers to the gender selection procedure is legally prohibited in China, India and the whole of Europe, except Turkey.

In the United Kingdom, the procedure is allowed for cases where it is used to screen genetic disorders, and not make gender selection for any other purpose.

Although United States has relaxed laws on the subject, that vary between different states, most US clinics refuse to allow gender selection, except for the purpose of ‘family balancing’, when the couple already has an offspring of the opposite sex.

In India, both gender selection as well as gender determination of the unborn baby are criminal offences.

First Published: Aug 17, 2010 17:52 IST