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Girls Swapped at Birth in Exchange for Boys


It’s a shocking and sad fact that baby girls in India are not as desired as boys. So much so, stories have emerged through the press of babies that have been swapped at birth. In the West, if a child is swapped at birth it is often a genuine and extremely rare mistake. In such cases, a simple DNA test can clear up the matter. But in India it isn’t just girls being swapped with other girls by mistake – but girls are being intentionally swapped with boys.

DNA Test not needed

In these blatant cases of identity theft, it’s hard to imagine how a mother who has just given birth must feel. In 2003, one Indian mother staged a sit-in to protest against her son being swapped at birth with a baby girl, highlighting the problem of prejudices against female babies. It’s hard to imagine such a thing happening in the West because of the availability of the simple test that can prove parentage without doubt. However, in India thankfully the protest resulted in police involvement and a DNA test was demanded. As a result of the test, the mother got her son back three weeks later and four people were arrested, including hospital staff, for their role in the baby swap.

DNA Test proves Girl not her Child

A DNA test proved that the baby girl wasn’t the mother’s, confirming her suspicions that her son had been kidnapped. Some believe there is a long history of abuse against female babies in India. It’s thought that if the baby swap was a male to male or female to female swap, the incident could have gone unnoticed. But because of the gender issue the swap became highly political.

Sex Selection Clinics

It’s felt that girls are more costly than boys because of the Indian custom of having to provide a dowry for daughters. Men are considered to be breadwinners and more valuable to a family’s financial health. The result has seen baby girls abandoned at birth. A simple test or of course an ultrascan a few months in the pregnancy can reveal the sex of a child before it’s born. There has however been a crackdown on ‘sex-selection’ clinics in the country.

The Mother – Baby Bond

Baby swapping can have permanent psychological damage on both the mother and child. If when the child is older they have a DNA test, they can find out the woman they thought was their mother isn’t in fact their mother. Also, being separated at birth, even if the mother and child are reunited weeks later, can be damaging. It’s widely accepted that the mother – baby relationship is central to a child’s development.

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