Saturday 8 January 2011

Why our next child must be a daughter

A couple who terminated twin boys conceived through IVF are fighting to choose the sex of their next child - because they want a girl.
In a case that raises the ethical question of sex selection, the couple have taken their fight to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. They already have three sons and said they now want to have a girl after their baby daughter died.
An independent panel, known as the Patient Review Panel, rejected the couple's bid to choose the gender of their next child using IVF. They now want that decision overturned. The tribunal, which ruled it has the power to review the earlier decision, will hear the case in March.
The couple said they had made the decision to terminate the twin boys but could not continue to have unlimited numbers of children.
If their bid to have a daughter fails, they said they would go to US so they can conceive a girl.
The woman - in her 30s - said she loved her sons but would do anything to have a daughter. "After what we have been through we think we are due for a bit of luck," the man said.
"We know we definitely won't be replacing her in any way, but want the chance to have the baby girl we don't have."
According to Victorian law, sex selection is banned unless it is necessary to avoid the risk of transmission of a genetic abnormality or disease or the Patient Review Panel has approved such using of an embryo.
All IVF clinics in Australia also subscribe to a code of ethics, including that they stay within National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines which say sex selection should not be done except to reduce the transmission of a serious genetic condition.
The man said sex selection should be determined on a case-by-case basis. "Girls will go and get abortions and terminate when they know it's not the right sex," he said. "That's the reality.
"We think it's our right to have a chance to do it. It's ridiculous that sex selection is illegal, actually."
Australian IVF pioneer Gab Kovacs said he could not understand why the couple should be banned from having a girl.
"I can't see how it could possibly harm anyone," Professor Kovacs said.
"Laws should be made to protect people from things that are going to damage them. Why should we make this illegal? Who is this going to harm if this couple have their desire fulfilled?"

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