Sat, Jun 02, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Couple's case highlights lingering chauvinism

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

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 (謝百惠) was reported yesterday by the Chinese-language Apple Daily to have helped her husband Chu Teng-lu (朱登陸) arrange a fake marriage with a Cambodian woman so that she could bear him a son.

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.

This story has been viewed 3388 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top