The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has launched an investigation into claims that parents are paying doctors to turn girls into boys, according to The Telegraph.
A report published by Hindustan Times Sunday said that doctors in the state had already converted as many as 300 girls ages 1-5. Surgeries are said to cost as much as $3,200 each.
The gender change surgery — known as genitoplasty — fashions a penis from female sex organs. The child is then given hormonal treatment to complete the change.
“Genitoplasty is possible on a normal baby of both the sexes but later on these organs will not grow with the hormonal influence and this will lead to their infertility as well as their impotency,” Indian Academy of Paediatrics president Dr. V. P. Goswami told The Telegraph. “It is shocking news and we will be looking into it and taking corrective measures.”
The Madhya Pradesh government has ordered India’s National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights to complete an investigation within 15 days.
There are already seven million more boys than girls in India because of female feticide, the practice of aborting female fetuses by parents that don’t want to deal with the additional costs associated with raising a girl.
“Shocking!” Indian feminist Taslima Nasreen tweeted. “Not only do people kill unborn girls, they turn girls into boys by genitoplasty.”
“Doctors who practice illegal Female Foeticide & Genitoplasty should get life in prison,” she added.