Canada; Indian Immigrants maintain masculized sex ratio at birth, 4,472 'missing girls' Print E-mail
 April 11, 2016


Sex ratios at birth after induced abortion

Marcelo L. Urquia, PhD, Rahim Moineddin, PhD, Prabhat Jha, MD, DPhil, Patricia J. O'Campo, PhD, Kwame McKenzie, MD, Richard H. Glazier, MD, MPH, David A. Henry, MD, Joel G. Ray, MD, MSc
Correspondence to: Marcelo Urquia,

Background: Skewed male:female ratios at birth have been observed among certain immigrant groups. Data on abortion practices that might help to explain these findings are lacking.

Methods: We examined 1 220 933 births to women with up to 3 consecutive singleton live births between 1993 and 2012 in Ontario. Records of live births, and induced and spontaneous abortions were linked to Canadian immigration records. We determined associations of male:female infant ratios with maternal birthplace, sex of the previous living sibling(s) and prior spontaneous or induced abortions.

Results: Male:female infant ratios did not appreciably depart from the normal range among Canadian-born women and most women born outside of Canada, irrespective of the sex of previous children or the characteristics of prior abortions. However, among infants of women who immigrated from India and had previously given birth to 2 girls, the overall male:female ratio was 1.96 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.75-2.21) for the third live birth. The male:female infant ratio after 2 girls was 1.77 (95% CI 1.26-2.47) times higher if the current birth was preceded by 1 induced abortion, 2.38 (95% CI 1.44-3.94) times higher if preceded by 2 or more induced abortions and 3.88 (95% CI 2.02-7.50) times higher if the induced abortion was performed at 15 weeks or more gestation relative to no preceding abortion. Spontaneous abortions were not associated with male-biased sex ratios in subsequent births.

Interpretation: High male:female ratios observed among infants born to women who immigrated from India are associated with induced abortions, especially in the second trimester of pregnancy.
 Thursday April 14, 2016

Study records 4,472 ‘missing girls’ among Indians in Canada

By R. Prasad

Proportion of males rose according to birth order among Indian mothers.

If an Indian immigrant couple in Canada has already had two children, the likelihood of the third child being a girl is less likely.

A paper published on April 11 in the journal CMAJ Open notes that the skewed sex ratio among Indian immigrants in Canada has resulted in about “4,472 missing girls”. The actual number of missing girls may be much higher given that the calculations based on the ratios did not factor in repeated induced abortions of female foetuses. The deficit in the number of newborn girls to Indian immigrants in Canada is around 200 per year.

Unlike in the general trend of 103-106 boys per 100 girls, the proportion of male children increased according to the birth order among Indian-born mothers. The majority of missing girls occurs at the third and higher order birth. Indian mothers, who already had two children, gave birth to 138 boys per 100 girls. It increased to 166 boys per 100 girls when Indian mothers in Canada already had three children.

Dr. Marcelo Urquia, the first author from St. Michael’s Hospital, Ontario, and others note that the presence of an Indian-born father skewed the ratio towards more boys per 100 girls at the second and higher birth orders immaterial of whether the mother was born in India or not.

“It is a woman’s right to undergo an abortion in Canada. No questions are asked regarding the reasons. Induced abortions are legal and free in Canada,” Dr. Urquia told in an e-mail to The Hindu. “Implantation of male embryos are not allowed under Canadian law. However, there is no law preventing women to undergo an abortion for any particular reason, even if it involves sex selection.”

The paper says that the sex ratio among Indian-born mothers with two previous daughters was 196 boys per 100 girls overall. The study examined birth certificate data of 5.8 million births to Canadian-born women and 1,77,990 Indian-born women between 1990 and 2011.
~ Tuesday April 12 2016

Baby boy boom among Indian immigrants in Canada

  Photo for representational purpose only. ­(Thinkstock)

Washington DC: A recent study has found that Indian-born women in Canada, who already have daughters, are giving birth to more males than expected, making the sex ratios skew toward boys.

The likelihood of male births increases if women had had an induced abortion before the male birth. The natural odds of having a boy are in the range of 103 to 107 boys for every 100 girls.

Researchers looked at the data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and the Citizenship and Immigration Canada permanent resident database on more than 1.2 million births in women with having a third child in Ontario between April 1, 1993, and March 31, 2012. Of the total group, 1,53,829 (12.6 per cent) were immigrant women from Asia.

Among women born in India, who already had two girls, the ratio of male to female babies for the third birth was almost double the average, with 196 boys born for every 100 girls.

If an Indian-born mother with two daughters had had an abortion before the third child, the sex ratio increased to 326 boys for every 100 girls and to 409 boys if the mother had had multiple abortions.

If a woman had an abortion at or after 15 weeks, when ultrasound can determine sex of the fetus, the sex ratio rose further, to 663 boys for every 100 girls.

"Among some Indian immigrants, the practice of induced abortions is associated with subsequently having a boy, especially at the third birth and among women with two previous girls," states Dr Marcelo Urquia with coauthors.

The researchers suggest that these findings "provide details about specific factors associated with this practice." They concluded that further research may clarify the social and cultural forces that influence some immigrant couples to have more sons than daughters, particularly in the Canadian context, which is a more sex-egalitarian society and where the given reasons for preferring sons are supposed to be undermined.

In a related commentary, Dr Abdool Yasseen and DR Thierry Lacaze-Masmonteil wrote, the results suggest that prenatal sex selection is likely present among first-generation immigrants to Canada from India and provide strong evidence that suggests induced abortions are being used to select infant sex in Canada.

He added, “We hope that these findings stimulate discussion toward the re-evaluation and development of public health policies aimed at eliminating the practice of prenatal sex selection in Canada." The study appeared in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). ­ANI