By Amina Nazarli
Modern medicine allows parents to determine the gender of the yet unborn child, so that impatient parents can swamp wardrobe with pink or blue clothes before the kid even showed up.
But in some cultures learning the sex of a baby before birth can lead to a foetus being aborted. Many experts claim that prenatal sex selection in the past 20 years will lead to an alarming demographic masculinization, which can lead to serious social and economic implications.
Although the situation with the choice of a child’s gender is not deplorable in Azerbaijan compared to other nations, where the preference for male children is part of the general inequality of women, the country, experiencing annual rate of population growth, reveals a decrease in the fertility of girls.
Farid Babayev, Adviser to Azerbaijani representative office of the United Nations Population Fund, stressed that Azerbaijan ranks second for violation of gender ratio of newborns.
Currently, 100 girls fall per 116 boys in Azerbaijan, with population of about 10 million people, what means that boys are 10-11 percent more than girls.
“Until 1975-1980, there were no deterioration in gender ratio of newborns in Azerbaijan. Since 1998, dynamics of deterioration in gender ratio has increased,” he said.
If not to prevent this deterioration, number of men will increase in the future, what can make it difficult to restore gender equality, according to Babayev.
The adviser noted that almost half of pregnancies terminated artificially in Azerbaijan and this trend grow by a woman's age and number of pregnancies.
“Three-quarters of pregnancies in women between the ages of 34-35 artificially terminated,” he said, adding that women artificially terminate pregnancy after second delivery in order to regulate fertility.
Azerbaijani traditions and mentality for centuries called for large families. However, today many Azerbaijani families prefer to have two children with one girl and one boy. That’s why for many families it doesn't matter whether first born is girl or boy.
The statistics show that only 2 percent of first pregnancies end in abortion, while this figure reaching to 80.4 percent in the fifth and subsequent pregnancies.
Just very few families in Azerbaijan think that having compulsory heir is necessary, who generally resort to selective abortion.
Chairman of the Committee on Social Policy Hadi Rajabli said that Azerbaijani law bans selective abortion. Selective abortion means abortions from 12 to 22 weeks considering social preconditions.
“Despite this, doctors say the sex of the unborn baby to parents and in case it’s a boy, a woman bears him, while it’s a girl, she wants an abortion. This problem cannot be eliminated only by restrictions. Necessary propaganda is needed,” he said.
Referring to religion Rajabli noted that Islam does not accept destruction of girl babies.
“Media also should be engaged in this process. Doctors doing abortions should be revealed and further brought to a public censure. At the same time, the health Ministry also should report selective abortions and take appropriate measures,” he suggested.