Proposed changes to Australia's IVF laws could permit parents to select the sex of their third child.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is currently conducting a review of IVF practices in Australia, with the goal of establishing a new set of guidelines for IVF clinics.
One of the recommendations aims to update Australia's laws around IVF gender selection.
Under the proposed changes, couples would not be allowed to choose the gender of their first or second child, with the exception of certain medical conditions.
At present, IVF in Australia costs around $10,000 but sex selection is not allowed.
However, Australians are flocking overseas and paying three to five times more for the chance to select the sex of their child.
"We know Australians are going overseas to have this procedure and sometimes the clinics aren’t as safe as we’d like,” the chairman of the NHMRC review panel, Ian Olver told News.com.au.
"We won’t allow it with first borns, to avoid serious gender bias, but these parents feel so strongly that they want a third or fourth child that’s a different sex that they’re prepared to spend a lot of money."
Choosing a baby's gender for cultural or racial reasons would be banned. But the proposed changes would allow parents to balance their family with boys and girls.
Professor Olver believes times have changed since our last national conversation about IVF treatment.
"We had that discussion 30 years ago when IVF children were still called ‘designer babies’, but now there are 200,000 couples in Australia who have been made happy through having a baby through IVF," he said.
The NHMRC are calling for public submissions on the proposed changes as they review the guidelines.