New Delhi: Indian women in the UK are aborting daughters in order to have more boys, an Oxford University study has found.
The research indicates that 1,500 girls have gone 'missing' from the birth statistics in England and Wales since 1990.
Dr Sylvie Dubuc, who studies human geography and population at Oxford University, studied birth rates of different ethnic groups in England and Wales, and was surprised by what she found.
"According to my calculation, around 1,500 girls are missing. It's significant compared to the total number of births," she said.
Dr Dubuc found that the proportion of boys over girls has increased over time abnormally. The most probable explanation, she said, seemed to be sex selective abortion by a minority of mothers born in India.
According to a BBC report, it was not just women born in India who were prepared to go to extremes to ensure they have a male heir, even British women following in the footsteps of their Indian counterparts.
Meena, a British woman who spoke to the BBC anonymously, already has three daughters. When she became pregnant again last year, she was desperate to know the sex of the child. Many health authorities in the UK refuse to tell couples the sex of an unborn. So Meena and her husband travelled to India to find out.
"Unfortunately, it was another girl. My husband and I thought the burden would probably be too much and the pressure when I got back home. So we decided to terminate," she told the BBC.
The couple simply looked on the Internet to identify a doctor to approach and found one who was willing to perform the scan and abortion.
BBC claims an estimated seven million girls have gone missing from India's population over the last 25 years. Selective abortion is happening all over India as ultrasound machines have become cheaper, but it has always been worst in Punjab and Gujarat.
It is impossible to say how many British women are travelling to India for terminations. The UK has a substantial community with strong links and often the same pressures as families in India.
Meena says she knows other Britons who have terminated their daughters, despite the emotional consequences.
“That was about a year ago. I still do think about it. I still think about how old she would have been now, how well she would have fitted in with her family, with her sisters,” she said.