Health

Australian Couple Spends $50,000 To Choose Child's Gender

| by Will Hagle

An Australian couple has publicized their decision to choose the gender of their newborn baby, exposing a practice that’s illegal in many countries but increasingly common and successful with modern technology. 

According to a first-person article published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Jayne Cornwill had always wanted a daughter. She gave birth to three sons, but always hoped for a girl. She claims that she was driven to undergo the procedure in the United States after she experienced a severe form of “gender disappointment.”

“My desire for a daughter caused me to spiral into depression and left me virtually housebound,” Cornwill wrote. "Every time I went out, toddlers in pink seemed to taunt me."

Cornwill and her husband, Jonathan, were forced to travel to the U.S. for gender-selection treatment, which is illegal in Australia. Doctors in California used pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a process usually used for identifying hereditary disorders, to screen embryos to ensure that they were the preferred sex before transferring them to the uterus. 

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According to a report from Yahoo News, Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg pioneered using PGS in sex selection in the U.S. at the Fertility Institutes. Steinberg claims that many of his clients come from countries in which the practice is banned, for reasons varying from “gender balancing” in American families to avoiding the abortion of more females in China. There are obvious ethical concerns, but Steinberg claims that his business has been booming since technology became advanced enough to be nearly 100 percent accurate in gender identification. “Our numbers have doubled over the past ten years — and these are happy, healthy, fertile clients,” Steinberg said. 

Cornwill ends her editorial with a call for Australia to make gender selection legal and available. “Gender selection must be legalised in Australia,” Cornwill wrote. “The technology should be available to everyone. It’s not about playing God, it’s about giving women reproductive freedom.”

Sources: Yahoo Parenting, The Sydney Morning Herald / Photo Credit: Yahoo Parenting