Fury at figures from gender clinic

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 July, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 July, 1995, 12:00am


A CLINIC which enables couples to choose the sex of their baby has come under fire after figures for the first 18 months suggest that 90 per cent prefer boys.

Since the Gender Choice Centre opened at the end of 1993, only two of the 20 births have been girls.

And Dr So Kai-ming, Vice-President of the Medical Association, says the figures back his view that the process is unethical, immoral and discriminatory.

He is urging the Government to promptly establish a long-promised panel to scrutinise such clinics.

'We have always been concerned about . . . the method they adopt, and the process of being able to choose the sex. Most people in the medical fraternity feel this way. The process gives rise to discrimination.' The centre's owner, Anthony Wong Shun-yun, said it was too early to analyse the figures.

'This will not distort the sex ratio of the population. Even in this country, having a sex ratio may not be a bad thing, it may decrease population growth.

'I don't think it's immoral - it makes a lot of people happy. And the argument that it spoils spontaneity, that people feel devalued, is the same argument put forward by the anti-abortionists in the '60s,' he said.

Mr Wong claims to have a 90 per cent success rate.

Couples must be married, and the clinic stipulates the process cannot be carried out on their first born. From the first consultation to counselling and the end result, the price tag is around $19,000.

But Linda Wong Sau-yun, spokes-man for the Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres said the treatment reinforces sexual inequality.

'We are living with sexual inequality - people in Hong Kong still want boys. This kind of technology is encouraging people to reinforce this inequality.

'The Government should clearly examine laws to see if this process is discriminatory or not, it just reinforces people's desire to have boys,' she said.

Medical Council Secretary Rupert Cheung Ming-bor said laws covering the work of the centre would be introduced before the end of the year. A statutory council would be responsible for regulating the practice of reproductive technology.