They have been promoting a pernicious form of sex determination right in the heart of Mumbai with impunity. But the law has finally caught up with two of India’s most high-profile infertility specialists. This week, the Supreme Court ordered action against Aniruddha and Anjali Malpani for hawking banned sex determination techniques on their website. The Malpanis claim to be the only doctors in the country providing pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which allows for sex selection in test-tube pregnancies. Through this technique, one can select the embryo of the desired gender (usually male) and have it implanted in the mother’s womb. A decade ago, the Indian government had banned techniques like amniocentesis, used to detect the sex of the foetus after pregnancy. But following a petition filed by the NGO Cehat, the government recently amended the law to include pre-conception sex selection procedures as well.
But this didn’t deter the Malpanis. Their website proudly advertises the PGD technique under the heading ‘How to Select the Sex of Your Baby’. They have also put up a research paper titled ‘Why shouldn’t couples be free to choose the sex of their baby?’ in which they declare sex pre-selection as "the ultimate form of family planning". The Supreme Court cracked the whip after a complaint by Cehat that the Malpanis were violating the newly amended Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Determination Act), 1994. The civic health department now plans to file a case but the Malpanis claim they’ve stopped offering the procedure but simply neglected to take it off their site.