Last year I took part in a forum at The Garvan Institute about the ethics of IVF. One of the questions that came up was about using IVF to select the gender of your child for reasons of ‘family balance’. This means that you really want a boy or you really want a girl and your reasons for this are not medical.
In Australia you are not permitted to use IVF to gender select for family balance reasons. That’s why some couples are going overseas to do it in countries where you can.
Grant McArthur writes for The Herald Sun:
A MELBOURNE mum is so desperate to have a daughter she is travelling to Thailand so she can choose the sex of her next baby, frustrated at Australian medical authorities as they drag their feet over the issue.
Already blessed with three boys – aged 5, 4 and 1 – the 36-year-old and her husband say they have been forced to sidestep Australian laws because they cannot wait for federal medical authorities to decide if they will overturn their ban on the practice.
While she says her boys mean the world to her, the mother will spend more than $15,000 to ensure she conceives a girl in a Bangkok clinic in the coming months.
“I understand the different points of view; I understand some people are happy with just sons and others with just daughters. I understand some people who can’t have their own children would be thinking, ‘you are lucky and you have three beautiful, healthy sons’. And that is true. But it is not about everyone else, it is about me and my husband and our choice, and women like me.
I write this from the privileged position of having a daughter and two sons. I write this from the privileged position of having children at all. There are so many who cannot. I don’t know how far I would go to have had children of both sexes and so I find it difficult to condemn this woman for her decision. Yes, there are people who can never have children so there is the argument that she should be grateful that she can. But there are people who cannot walk and are the rest of us grateful every day that we can?
So I’m not sure that the ‘count yourself lucky, lady’ argument is a strong enough one for me.
Where do you stand?