Catering to Chinese parents' preference for sons over daughters, a Chinese company is thriving over a product that claims to adjust the pH level of a woman's body, and thus help them give birth to males.
Gynecologists reached by the Global Times challenged the effectiveness of the product and warned that there is nothing scientific which can prove that the pH value of the mother can determine a baby's gender.
An online sales representative of Jianyunbao, a product from Foshan Yuankang Food Trade Ltd in South China's Guangdong Province, told the Global Times reporter who posed as a customer that by taking pills of Jianyunbao a woman can raise the pH level of her body to make it more alkaline and thus make sperms with Y chromosomes more likely to survive.
The sales representative on Jianyunbao's online Taobao shop, who goes by the online name Xiaoying, said the longer a woman takes the pill, the better the effect and recommended that women start taking the pill at least two months before pregnancy.
Its advertised ingredients include spirulina, broccoli, corn flour, calcium lactate, xylitol and Vitamin C.
Xu Congjian, a gynecologist and director of Fudan University's Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, told the Global Times on Thursday that there exists no scientific evidence which shows that changing the pH level of the mother can determine the sex of the child. He called the product "nonsense."
Another doctor from Southwest China's Sichuan Province who requested anonymity compared the product to "seaweed crackers," and said taking the pills would not be much different from drinking soda water.
The product costs 798 yuan (6) for two bottles with a total of 60 pills.
The company recommends one pill be taken a day.
Xiaoying claims that they have been selling the products for years and have been tested to be safe.
As of press time, the product has received 589 good reviews and zero bad reviews on its Taobao shop. Some customers said they wanted to have a baby boy.
Despite campaigns for gender equality, many Chinese parents, especially those in rural areas, view boys as an investment and girls a liability.
The product also claims to be based on a patented technology, but information from the State Intellectual Property Office showed that the patent is still pending and has not yet been confirmed.