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Deepka Lalwani, the head of Indian Business & Professional Women (Patrick Tehan / Mercury News)
Researchers are finding the first evidence that some Asian immigrant families are using U.S. medical technology to have sons instead of daughters, apparently acting on an age-old cultural prejudice that has led to high ratios of boys to girls in parts of China and India.

The new research, produced by independent teams of economists who arrived at similar conclusions, focused on Indian, Chinese and Korean families who first had girls and then used modern technology to have a son.

With birth records in Santa Clara County showing that Asian mothers are more likely to give birth to sons than white or Latino mothers are, the new data could reawaken a local controversy. Some local South Asian women have pressured local Indo-American newspapers and magazines in recent years to stop running ads for medical procedures that offer prospective parents the promise of a son.

For some South Asian couples, having a boy is a "status symbol," said Deepka Lalwani of Milpitas, the founder and president of Indian Business & Professional Women, a nonprofit business support network. "If a woman has male...