A study released today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal confirms previous research showing that the male-to-female ratio for third-born children to women born in India and living in Ontario is higher than the natural rate.
“The findings are highly unlikely to be due to chance,” says Dr. Joel Ray, the lead researcher, who is a clinician scientist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.
Ray says his research was inspired by the controversial editorial written by Dr. Rajendra Kale, the former interim editor in chief of the CMAJ.
The January 2012 editorial suggested that what Kale called the “repugnant practice” of female feticide, or sex-selective abortion, played a part in previously studied high male-to-female sex ratios in specific ethnic groups in Canada.
The new study, prepared by Ray, Dr. David Henry and Marcelo Urquia, found that the third-child births of Indian-born women were at a ratio of 136 boys to 100 girls.
In comparison, third children of Canadian-born mothers in Ontario were born at the ratio of 105 boys to 100 girls, which is considered about normal for the worldwide average.
Although Ray says he hasn’t found other explanations than selective abortion for why there would be higher male-to-female ratios in the Indian population he says, “it would be unfair to speculate.”