Asian's Pressure to Produce a Boy
Many Asian immigrants who settle in North America and Europe continue to prefer boy babies, even as they acclimate to their new culture. According to fertility clinics, while some wealthier Asian couples travel to the U.S. to undergo gender selection procedures in what’s been coined “reproductive tourism,” many others seeking sex selection services are first- and second-generation Asian-Americans who generally desire a boy baby.
Some women from South Asian countries report that they still experience “enormous pressure to have a boy,” even while living in the U.S., far away from their families of origin, according to Sunita Puri, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who has done extensive research on sex selection preferences and practices in Asia. “Some women have felt there was no choice,” says Puri, noting that coercion to keep trying for a boy baby continues to influence South Asian women who have immigrated to America. That coercion usually comes from the husband, the mother- and/or father-in-laws. She has interviewed dozens of immigrant women, many who do not speak English who report being pressured to try for a boy. “This is not always about free choice,” she says. “There’s a lot of pressure coming to this country….There’s this idea that sons are needed to do the things that daughters just can’t [seemingly] do,” says Puri.
Generally, in South Asia and in South Asian communities of immigrants living in the West, boys are still considered more valuable. These couples were raised with the expectation that sons are necessary, Puri explains, whether the need is real or perceived. These gender-biased values live on and take at least two generations or more to dissipate.