Fetus gender testing kits seized in Beijing
Country expected to achieve goal of balanced sex ratio at birth by 2030
Authorities in Beijing said on Wednesday they have seized fetus gender testing kits sent from the United States among parcels mailed to Chinese consumers who placed orders on an e-commerce platform, the first time such products have been found during entry-exit inspection in Beijing.
The Beijing Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said that last week they intercepted three packs of such testing kits, which are banned in China except for use in medical research.
The bureau said it will destroy the testing kits and demand the online shopping platform refrain from mailing such items to China.
The testing kits can allegedly predict the sex of a fetus in the first five to 10 weeks of pregnancy through a few drops of urine, the statement said, quoting the product’s user guide. When coming into contact with the urine, the test paper turns green for a male fetus and orange for a female fetus, it said, adding that the first urination of the day should be used for testing.
The bureau declined to give further details about the kits, such as who bought them and where they were heading to.
Similar products have also been seized in other parts of China. Last year, four boxes of similar products were seized by authorities in Southwest China’s Chongqing municipality, China News Service reported.
Prenatal gender testing for nonmedical reasons is banned in China, out of fears that predicting the sex of the fetuses might lead to an increased number of abortions and negatively impact the gender imbalance among newborns.
Individuals and organizations that perform medically unnecessary prenatal gender predictions or sex-selective abortions will be fined up to 30,000 yuan ($4,400) and any fees paid for the illegal screenings and abortions will be confiscated, according to a revised regulation that took effect in May.
The regulation, jointly issued by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, and the China Food and Drug Administration, aims to tackle China’s gender imbalance, a result of prebirth gender prediction and sex-selective abortions driven by a cultural preference for sons. Last year, China’s sex ratio, which represents the number of men for every 100 women, stood at 113.5, a ninth consecutive yearly decrease. A normal range is between 103 and 107. Goals by the latest government health guidelines include a balanced sex ratio at birth by 2030.
Qiao Xiaochun, a population scientist at Peking University, said the latest universal two-child policy, which took effect at the beginning of the year, would gradually help redress the skewed gender ratio.
“As family planning policies have been eased in the country, a preference for boys is expected to change as well,” Qiao said, adding that it would take time for the sex ratio to reach a normal range.