In Taiwan, tougher checks on illegal sex-selective abortions prevented nearly 1,000 terminations of female foetuses, say health authorities.
Taiwan's health authorities moved to tighten curbs on the illegal abortions last year, warning that doctors found guilty of the practice could have their licenses revoked.
"The strict measures have paid off," Lee Tsui-feng, an official at the Bureau of the Health Promotion, told AFP.
Government figures showed that 108 males babies were born for every 100 female babies in 2011, down from 109 to 100 in 2010. The normal sex ratio at birth globally is 104-106 males to every 100 females.
"That's the same as 993 female foetuses saved last year," Lee said.
Even though sex-selective abortions have never been legal in Taiwan, the practice is believed to have become common, due to a traditional preferences for male offspring.
Despite last year's progress, Lee said it may take another four or five years to weed out the illegal practice entirely.