Parents with two boys or two girls should be able to choose the sex of their third baby, a review into national IVF laws has been told.
Professor Michael Chapman, senior fertility expert with IVF Australia, says parents should be allowed to choose to have a boy or a girl for reasons of family balance, if they already have two children of the same gender.
Fertility experts are pushing the National Health and Medical Research Council to allow sex selection of embryos for “balance”. The NHMRC review panel has already announced that parents will only be allowed to select the gender of a first or second child for medical reasons, such as to avoid certain genetic diseases. Gender selection for religious and cultural reasons will be banned outright.
Professor Chapman says only a small percentage of parents want to choose the sex of their baby.
“I probably see a patient every four or six weeks who’s distraught that they’ve got three boys and they want a girl,” he says.
Professor Chapman says allowing gender selection for the third child will protecting Australian couples from the health and financial risks of going overseas for the service.
He says he supports the move as a patient’s personal decision that should not be covered by Medicare, and dismissed concerns about designer babies.
“We were accused of that when we started doing IVF 25 years ago,” he says. “We now have over 200,000 child in Australia born by IVF making people’s lives happy.”
But Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon says sex selection for family balance is “not an appropriate use of science technology”.
The review of IVF laws in Australia is expected to be completed later this year.
The wonders of science never ceases to amaze, just recently Babyology reported on the advances in fertility treatments that may lead to the first three-parent babies.