Gender selection in China: its meanings and implications

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2002 Sep;19(9):426-30. doi: 10.1023/a:1016815807703.


With the advancement of assisted reproduction technologies, people are offered wider choices to choose the gender of their offspring and to construct 'ideal-typed' families with specific gender structure. Gender selection is welcomed by many societies with gender-specific preference, especially those patriarchal societies such as Chinese communities. It is not only a medical procedure but also a social orientation, which reveals much of the underlying preference towards gender. This paper explores the cultural dimensions to gender selection and its psychosocial meanings and implications in Chinese societies, especially after the establishment of One Child Policy in China. Problems associated with son preference in the culture with strong gender stereotyping are addressed. We believe that gender selection for social reasons should not be allowed since undesirable outcomes will be resulted under such strict population control program.

MeSH terms

  • China / ethnology
  • Family Characteristics / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Population Control
  • Sex Preselection / ethics*
  • Sex Ratio
  • Suicide / ethnology