The Chinese government says it is drafting new laws to tackle the growing gender imbalance caused by the widespread abortion of female foetuses.
The practice is already banned, but new rules are expected to set out specific punishments for parents and doctors.
China's Family Planning Association (CFPC) has revealed the extent of the imbalance - in one city there are eight young boys for every five girls.
Experts fear the phenomenon could have unpredictable social consequences.
Some believe that with millions of men unable to find a wife, there could be risks of increasing anti-social and violent behaviour. - [Including sex trafficking - Lisa]
China's one-child policy, and a traditional preference for male heirs, has led many couples to try to ensure that their single offspring is a boy.
Some pay for illegal ultrasound tests to discover the sex of a foetus, and abort it if it is female.
"The root cause is traditional thinking that boys are better than girls, especially in poverty-stricken areas," Song Jiang, a population expert at Beijing's Renmin University, told the Xinhua news agency.
"Those people expect boys to support the family."
After God created women He said 'very good'. I agree...