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Armenia: Demographic Imbalance Prompts Move to Ban Fetus Sex Detection

Should Armenia ban disclosing a baby's sex before pregnancy's 22nd week? (Photo: Anahit Hayrapetyan)

Officials in Armenia want to impose a ban on prenatal sex determination in a bid to discourage sex-selective abortions that favor males. The measure would aim to correct a growing disparity in the country’s male-to-female birth ratio.

Compared with a worldwide ratio of 102 males for every 106 females, 114.5 boys are born in Armenia for every 100 girls, according to 2012 data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The figure ranks Armenia just after China (117.8) and Azerbaijan (116.5) for births of males compared with females.

Research done by the UNFPA in 2011 found that the imbalance, a trend since the 1990s, “stems from prenatal sex selection,” with the fetuses of “1,400 girls annually” terminated via a sex-selective abortion. The imbalance poses “a major blow to the deteriorating demographic situation in the country,” the study found. Affected by large-scale emigration,  Armenia’s population currently stands at a mere 3.27 million people, according to official data.

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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.

Armenia: Demographic Imbalance Prompts Move to Ban Fetus Sex Detection

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