Mar 4, 2022
Sex selection is illegal in India – Here is what you need to know about the law on sex selection
A Delhi court has said that although sex selection in India is banned, the general public perception is that it is easily available in clinics throughout the country. The court said that all those involved in the practice of sex selection need a strong message that it cannot be permitted at any cost, and in a civilized society, there is no place for such crimes.
What is sex selection?
Sex selection includes any procedure, technique, test or administration or prescription or provision of anything to ensure or increase the probability that an embryo will be of a particular sex.
Sex selection is illegal in India and any prenatal diagnostic procedures are only allowed in limited circumstances where a doctor would require the woman’s written consent.
Who does the law apply to?
This law prohibits anyone from doing or allowing any sex selection procedures. It regulates every person who could be involved in the process of sex selection, including:
- The pregnant woman;
- Her husband;
- Her relatives;
- The doctor or medical professional conducting the prenatal diagnostic procedure; and
- The hospital/medical facility/laboratory where the prenatal diagnostic procedure is conducted.
What does the law prohibit?
The law prohibits the following activities:
Conducting sex selection
Nobody, including infertility specialists, can conduct sex selection on a woman or a man or on both, by using any tissue, embryo, conceptus, fluid or gametes derived from either or both of them. The law also prohibits anybody, including a relative or husband of a woman, from seeking or encouraging any sex selection procedures on either or both of them.
Conducting prenatal diagnostic procedures
No place, including a registered centre, can be used by any person for conducting prenatal diagnostic procedures or tests, except for certain permitted situations. The law also prohibits anybody, including a relative or husband of the pregnant woman, from seeking or encouraging the conduct of any prenatal diagnostic procedures or tests on her, except for certain permitted situations.
Determining the sex of the foetus
Nobody, including a registered centre, can conduct any prenatal diagnostic procedures for determining the sex of a foetus. If a sex determination procedure results in the abortion of a child, it would be a crime of foeticide.
Communicating the sex of the foetus
Nobody can communicate the sex of the foetus to the pregnant woman, her relatives or any other person, by words, signs or in any other manner.
Selling machines for sex determination
Nobody can sell any ultrasound machine, imaging machine, scanner, or any other equipment that can detect the sex of a foetus to anyone not registered under the law.
Advertising sex determination or sex selection facilities
Nobody can issue, publish, distribute or communicate anything online or offline about the availability of facilities of prenatal determination of sex, or sex selection, before conception.
What are the offences and punishments under this law ?
|Violation of the law by any medical professional or any person who owns a registered centre, or is employed in or renders their professional or technical services at a registered centre.||First offence – Jail time for up to 3 years, along with a fine of up to Rs. 10,000.
Subsequent offences – Jail time for up to 5 years, along with a fine of up to Rs. 50,000.
|For doctors and registered medical practitioners:
Suspension of the registration until the case is disposed of and on conviction, removal of their name from the register for a period of five years for the first offence, and permanently for the subsequent offence.
|Any person seeking sex selection or prenatal diagnostic procedures and breaking the law (excluding pregnant women forced to undergo the procedure)||First offence – Jail time for up to 3 years, along with a fine of up to Rs. 50,000.
Subsequent offences – Jail time for up to 5 years, along with a fine of up to Rs. 1,00,000.
|Advertising sex determination or sex selection facilities||Jail time for up to 3 years, along with a fine of up to Rs. 10,000.|
To know more, read our explainer.
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