Illegal fetal sex determination syndicate exposed in East China
Published: Dec 28, 2021 12:21 AM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Using blood collection tools and test tubes from unknown sources and unregulated blood collection processes, a criminal syndicate performing illegal fetal sex determination services in East China's Fujian Province, involving personnel from obstetrics and gynecology hospitals, logistics companies, overseas institutions and tens of thousands of possible clients, was exposed by local media recently. 

In a video following a months-long secret investigation conducted by local media, a suspect from the criminal syndicate said that they offer three channels to collect clients' blood for fetal sex determination. Pregnant women can go to a hospital in Hong Kong or Xiamen in Fujian to have their blood collected, or they can send their blood samples to the syndicate. 

According to a criminal suspect, they would send their clients' blood to Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province and go through the customs clearance procedures there before sending the blood samples to overseas genetic testing institutions to perform fetal sex determination. 

The gang provided instructional videos on how to conceal the test tubes containing blood samples in clothes and secretly send the blood samples via couriers to them. 

Pregnant women could also have their blood samples collected by the gang in a minivan which was turned into a blood drawing room, with syringes, test tubes for collecting blood and medical waste. 

In the video, the suspect drawing blood from a female "client" tells the undercover reporter that the service of drawing blood in the minivan costs 3,000 yuan ($471). During the investigation, the reporters witnessed several women having their blood collected in the minivan. The suspect shows the reporter that his clients' blood samples were neatly sorted, with every client's test tube of blood sealed in plastic bags. 

According to the suspect, he collects blood from dozens of clients every day. He has over 5,000 contacts in each of his more than 10 WeChat accounts. He bragged to the reporter that he had been involved in the business for over 10 years. 

According to the investigation, personnel from local obstetrics and gynecology hospitals are also involved in the illegal business. 

A medical worker claimed in the video that both the doctors and nurses engaged in the illegal business are licensed medical workers employed by hospitals. 

A docimaster surnamed Lai from Xiamen Lugang Gynecological & Obstetrical Hospital reminded his client that she could not go to his hospital to have her blood collected in case his "part-time job" was exposed, which could result in him being fired. 

What's more, some small clinics were found to have been participating in the illegal business by collecting blood samples for the gang. 

A medical worker from a local village clinic told the investigative reporter, who pretended to be a client, that pregnant clients are brought by the gang members to the clinic to have their blood drawn. 

According to the suspects, the fetal sex determination result is released within three days after the blood samples go through customs and are sent to Hong Kong. 

A maternal serum screening report issued by the Kowloon Laboratory in Hong Kong was presented in the video. Its conclusion shows that genetic information generated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis on the extracted DNA shows positive results for the Y Chromosomal specific genes. A suspect told the reporter that the conclusion indicated that the client will conceive a boy. 

According to the suspect, after being pregnant for six weeks or longer, a fetus' sex can be identified and most of his clients want to keep boys. 

However, according to Xu Liangpu, director of the medical genetic diagnosis and treatment center of Fujian Province Maternal and Child Health Hospital, due to the limitation of technologies, it is impossible for testing to be 100 percent accurate 

A man surnamed Wang from Quanzhou in Fujian told the media that his wife had an abortion after her test results showed that she would give birth to a girl. However, it was only later when they found she was actually having a boy. The family still regret their decision. 

Gan Mantang, professor from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences of Fuzhou University, told the media that if more and more people adopt selective reproduction, it could lead to a significant imbalance in the male/female ratio of newborn babies. 

At present, all related personnel involved in the illegal business have been reported to the local police and health authorities by the media.

Global Times