Gender inequality among new born children has risen in the capital city, according to the Hanoi Population and Family Planning Department.

Fifteen out of 29 districts in the city have a high rate of gender inequality, with 155 boys for every 100 girls born in the first three months this year. Last year the city's rate was 115 boys for every 100 girls, according to statistics of the Hanoi Department of Health.

By the end of last month, the city had more than 18,600 new-born babies, an increase by 2,780 babies compared with the same period last year.

The number of families to have a third child has also increased during the first quarter this year. More than 1,400 out of 18,600 babies born during the first quarter were the third child, an increase of 309 babies compared with the same period last year.

The number of third-child births is predicted to continue increasing throughout the year, said Vu Thi Lien Huong, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Population and Family Planning.

In the Ordinance on Population issued in 2009, the State encouraged families to only have one or two children in a bid to counter a possible population explosion that could lead to a shortage of land, natural resources and jobs, said Huong.

Nguyen Thanh Quang, who lives in Tu Liem District and has two daughters and a boy who was born at the beginning of this year, said he and his wife are determined to have a son as a male will maintain the continuity of the family line.

"Moreover, a fortune teller said that we will be luckier and more prosperous if we have a boy born this year - the year of dragon," he said.

However, not all families who have a third child expect to have a boy.

Nguyen Kim Thoa, an accountant, said she wants to have three children irrespective of if they are boys and girls.

Thoa has one boy and one girl, and gave birth to another girl last month.

"I am capable of bringing up one more baby, and I love to have many children," she said.

Vu Thi Lien Huong said most third children are born in suburban districts or districts in former Ha Tay Province, which merged into Hanoi in 2008.

Dissemination on family planning in the districts was still weak, thus residents in these areas are not aware of the consequences of gender inequality, said Huong.

If gender inequality among new-borns is not curbed, the city in particular and the country in general will face the risk of men not being able to find wives, along with gender violence and human trafficking.

"I think that we should make prenatal gender selection a crime in the Criminal Law so that the punishment for this is strict enough," said Huong.

In addition, dissemination of information about the issue to couples of child-bearing age and medical workers should be improved, she said.-VNA