There's no such thing as "an unworthy belly," said gynecologists in response to the case of a Taichung-area couple who broke the law in their desperation to have a son.
After giving birth to eight daughters, a Taichung-area woman named Hsieh Pai-hui (
Hsieh told her tale to the police after the Cambodian woman duly gave birth to a boy, but then refused to go back to Cambodia as planned, the paper reported.
The case is an unfortunate reminder that chauvinism is not dead, said Tsai Feng-po (蔡鋒博), superintendent of the Dr. Tsai & Dr. Chen's Women Hospital, yesterday.
"The sex of the baby is determined not by the mother but by chance, depending on whether the sperm fertilizing the egg carries an X or Y chromosome. Yet women are almost always the ones who are blamed for not producing a son," Tsai said.
"The only way [a couple can control the sex of their child] is through sperm screening, which is illegal in this country," he said.
Whether or not a woman gives birth to a son can affect her status in some families, Tsai added.
"Sometimes [the discrimination] is subtle, such as being offered more meat at the table. Other times the woman might be told outright by her mother in law that she has an `unworthy belly,'" he said.
One female patient was so upset by the news that she was giving birth to a daughter that she began to cry, Tsai said.
When asked why she wasn't happy that she had managed to conceive via In-vitro fertilization, the woman told Tsai that "having a daughter is a losing proposition."
Although attitudes towards women are changing, Tsai said, many still believe that it is essential to have a son to continue the family line.
"The attitude is likely to be stronger in less-educated households," Tsai said.