Chinese surgeons are going to remove 23 needles from a woman, who suffered an attack from her grandparents. The woman's grandparents embedded the needles under her skin trying to kill her so that a baby boy might take her place, a hospital spokesman said.
The needles had been discovered by X-ray after Luo Cuifen, 29, went to doctors complaining of blood in her urine.
Many of the needles have worked their way into Luo's vital organs including her lungs, liver, bladder and kidneys, making their removal difficult, said Qu Rui, a spokesman for the Richland International Hospital in Yunnan province's capital, Kunming.
He said seven of the 23 needles would be removed Tuesday in the first of several expected operations.
"Tomorrow's surgery carries a definite degree of risk," Qu said.
He said doctors believe Luo's grandparents may have inserted the needles long ago, hoping she would die and her parents might have a boy in her place. China limits most families to just one child, although rural Chinese may be allowed to have a second if their first is a girl, subject to the payment of fines.
In many parts of China, baby boys are still heavily favored over girls because they are bound by tradition to support their parents in their old age, and because they carry on the family name.
Infanticide and abortions of female fetuses have created a skewed ratio between the genders, with 119 boys reported born for every 100 girls, according to official figures. By comparison, the ratio in industrialized countries is 107 to 104 boys for every 100 girls.