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Indore Doctors Turn Scores Of Baby Girls Into Boys


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Called to our attention by SPN Mentor Gyani Jarnail Singh "Arshi"

Amrita U Kadam, Hindustan Times
Indore, June 26, 2011

Girls are being 'converted' into boys in Indore - by the hundreds every year - at ages where they cannot give their consent for this life-changing operation.

This shocking, unprecedented trend, catering to the fetish for a son, is unfolding at conservative Indore's well-known clinics and hospitals on children who are 1-5 years old. The process being used to 'produce' a male child from a female is known as genitoplasty. Each surgery costs Rs 1.5 lakh.

Moreover, these children are pumped with hormonal treatment as part of the sex change procedure that may be irreversible.

The low cost of surgery and the relatively easy and unobtrusive way of getting it done in this city attracts parents from Delhi and Mumbai to get their child surgically 'corrected'.

About 7-8% cases come from the metros, say doctors.

While genitoplasty is relatively common - it is used to correct genital abnormality in fully-grown patients - the procedure is allegedly being misused rampantly to promise parents a male child even though they have a female child.

The parents press for these surgeries despite being told by doctors that the 'converted' male would be infertile.

While genitoplasty experts of Indore say each of them have turned 200 to 300 girls into 'boys' so far, only one could cite an instance when a 14-year-old was converted into a girl.

In that case, ironically, medical complications strictly forbade converting the child to a boy. The doctors accept that parents willingly convert girls to boys but opt out of the opposite procedure.

If that's not bad enough, Indian law, which has encountered nothing like this so far, allows these surgeries by its silence and grey areas.

About seven paediatric surgeons from Indore - who are associated with top private and government hospitals - perform these surgeries.

They say these operations are done on children whose internal organs do not match their external genitalia - most commonly, girls born with some internal male organs.

They claim a strict procedure is followed to determine the sex of the newborn, after which the external appearance of the child is changed to match the sex.

There is no system to monitor that claim and is completely open to abuse.

"When the child grows up, he or she would be confused about the gender he or she belongs to. This surgery can stop the child from having sex-determination disorder and psychological problems," said Dr Milind Joshi, a paediatric surgeon who performs the procedure at a city hospital.

A parent whose child underwent such a surgery at the age of two said on the condition of anonymity, "I think my child would not be confused over his gender when he grows up and can live a normal life as he would not have any memories of the surgery."

Another Indore paediatric surgeon performing this procedure, Dr Brijesh Lahoti, said, "In India, there is no problem in performing these surgeries as only the consent from parents and an affidavit is required. These are reconstruction surgeries where sex of the child is determined based on its internal organs and not just on the basis of external genitalia."

With no proper laws to protect rights of the child that young, the practice might have a larger social ramification, say medico-legal experts.

"The surgery can have profound, long-term psychological effects on an individual, who might not accept the gender assigned by parents and doctors before age of consent," said Suchitra Inamdar, a counsellor from Mumbai.

Calling it a highly sensitive issue, Dr Joshi said people should be sensitised about these surgeries. Asked about consent of the child, he said, "In India, consent is sought from parents till the child is 14."

This raises a lot of questions about rights of these children, who might grow up to believe that they wanted to be the way they were born and not corrected surgically.

There have been cases abroad in which such people - who had undergone the procedures at the ages when their consent could not be sought - have grown up and sued the doctors.

"In India, it is a completely virgin area," said medico-legal expert from Mumbai Shirish Deshpande, who is also chairman of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

"The government needs to regulate these operations. They can't be called illegal right now, but if ignored, they can create a major imbalance in the sex ratio and have serious social implications."

The Indian Medical Association has a similar view.

"The Medical Council of India and the health ministry should look into the matter. There has to be some guideline or law on how a child who is barely old enough to talk can undergo a life-changing surgery at the parents' will," said IMA secretary, Indore branch, Dr Anil Bhadoria.



May 9, 2006
If this surgery is done on perfectly healthy girls to turn them into boys then it's sick and their parents are complete selfish idiots.

If it's genuinely being done on hermaphrodites, then I hope it's being done right with the child's wellbeing the number 1 influence.

The article is not entirely clear.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
ishna ji

I totally agree. There is a great deal more to this issue that the reporter failed to explore. It leaves me mystified. Are Indore doctors taking more than their share of blame in a controversial matter. The type of surgery described here has been conducted in developed countries like US, Canada, UK and Denmark and probably elsewhere for more than a generation. It is controversial within the medical community and among medical and human sexuality researchers for several reasons.

No records are kept. The number of infants who have had this surgery is not clear in places like the US because doctors have been known to perform genitoplasty at birth: 1) when sex organs are either mixed male/female and one sex predominantes; or 2) the gender of an infant is ambiguous. The doctor makes a judgment call to assign the infant as boy or girl.

The article mentions "scores" of girls and boys...Numbers appear to be unclear in India too.

Only now 20 to 25 years later is it possible to study the long term health and psychological effects to know risks. Before that no one in or out of the medical profession could have known what those risks would be. That makes "informed" consent possible only now, years later. 20 or 25 years ago no one really knew what the risks would be. Therefore, informed consent was impossible to give a generation ago.

A doctor may indeed give informed consent to parents, and should. But in the end the doctor makes the determination whether there is a disorder of sexual identity. Many parents will not and did not question his judgement...certainly not 20 years ago...and they gave consent.

Informed consent is not required in every country.

In the US, only now the government is working on guidelines. The importance of having guidelines only now has become an urgent matter.

So I am left very unclear as to the purpose of the article. Just using the US as a point of comparison, there are roughly 260 million people in the US. The population of India is roughly 2.6 billion in the last census. So "scores" of infants (whatever that number comes to) may be a very small percentage of infants. And the percentages may not be not different from the US or other places in the developed world.

If the parents and children are being used a guinea pigs then the number is meaningless...even one operation is wrong. But if there is more to this story, we have not heard it yet.


May 24, 2008
Although we don’t like to mess with nature. I my self will never think about this. But I can understand if couple wants to have balance family. Most of the people want boy so that name will not die
But if this child is infertile then there is no point in the surgery.
In <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Thailand</st1:country-region> the doctor can take male sperm and fertilize the egg by the male sperm and the lady will give birth to healthy child. I know of a person in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">India</st1:country-region> have herb that is sure to have boy with out any complication.

Each of us has to live with our decision.
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May 9, 2006
In cases where children have mixed sex organs, they may be infertile but the organ/s that are present may be deformed and need some surgery to make life more comfortable for the child and when grown, adult.

I think it would be a mercy for the child to be assigned a gender if they have mixed organs. However, I imagine it's complicated as you don't know what the psychology of the child is, much like homosexual people, you can't tell when they're born which gender they are going to identify with.

But I don't really know much about the transgender community to really speak for them or about them.

But it raises an intereting hukam question -- if you're born that way, and it's not going to cause physical problems, is it gurmat to change the equipment?



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