Turning their backs on the age old tradition, expectant Chinese parents have begun to hope for a daughter rather than a son, considering the huge costs involved in raising a boy.
China's one-child policy has produced a calamitous glut of men. The country has 32 million more young men than women, a situation that is already leading to an increase in prostitution and sex crimes.
However, in the country's enormous cities, the huge cost of raising a son has meant that for many families, daughters now make more economic sense.
In Shanghai, government researchers questioned almost 3,500 prospective parents. Of those, more than 12 per cent said they were hoping for a boy, while more than 15 per cent wanted a girl, the Telegraph reports.
In most marriages, it is the son's family, which is required to buy a house for the couple - a ruinous expense in many cities.
"I want my child to be a girl. Although I prefer boys, there are endless things to worry about, such as finding him a good school, helping him get a good job, and buying a house and a car for him. It's just too much trouble," said Yang Min, 32, an expectant mother.
Li Qian, a 27-year-old secretary in a private bank, said the economic crisis had left parents with sons having to provide for two families, their own and their children's.
"Many would-be parents want to have daughters to reduce their financial burden. Girls can marry rich husbands," she said.
Demography experts are hoping that the latest preference would slowly retain China's gender equilibrium.
"The reality is that having a son or daughter makes no difference when parents need support. Unlike in rural areas, city residents are covered by social security. Besides which, daughters are much more thoughtful and caring than sons," said Chen Youhua, a demography and sociology professor at Nanjing University.