The IVF and gender selection debate

Should gender selection in IVF be allowed in Australia?

Australians undergoing IVF treatment may soon be able to choose the gender of their child.

Shot of a beautiful pregnant woman with the sun drawn onto her belly against the background of the oceanThe National Health and Medical Research Council is drafting new guidelines in an attempt to keep up with community sentiment regarding IVF.

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of Australians travelling overseas to pursue fertility options not available in Australia.

The council has put forward several proposals for public comment and is specifically seeking feedback on sex selection for non-medical purposes, compensating women for donating their eggs and the establishment of an Australian egg donor bank.

It is already possible for people to choose the sex of their babies when there was a risk of genetic abnormalities. Now the question is whether it should be allowed for non-medical reasons such as family balancing.

A 2013 Roy Morgan poll has found that only one in five Australians support gender selection.

While some argue the ethics of gender selection and talk about ‘designer babies’, others believe a patient has a right to access all the information about their embryos, including gender.

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