IVF Australia
People display a banner during a protest against the decree signed by Costa Rica's President Luis Guillermo Solis, legalizing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in front of the Supreme Court in San Jose, Costa Rica September 15, 2015. Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate

An Australian IVF expert has defended the option for parents to choose the sex of their third child. Professor Michael Chapman, a senior fertility expert with IVF Australia, believes that the sex determination right affects only a small number of families and is also strictly regulated. The proposal is part of a review of Australian IVF laws that is being undertaken by the Health Department.

Chapman said majority of the parents did not want to choose the sex of their children but a small percentage did. Choosing a baby’s gender for racial or cultural reasons would be banned in favour of an approach that will allow parents to balance their families with girls and boys. As per the new proposal, families won’t be allowed to choose the gender of their first and second child barring cases that require doing so for medical reasons.

“I suspect it's about 100 women a year in a population of something like 45,000 women go through IVF each year. I probably see a patient every four or six weeks who's distraught that they've got three boys and they want a girl,” Chapman told 74 ABC Melbourne.

He added that many couples put themselves at risk and spend thousands of dollars to go overseas to detect their child’s gender. Chapman believes allowing parents to ascertain the gender of their third child would protect them from that.

However, the proposal is still facing a national ethics board and may be shut down by the states, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The recommendations are subject to change and may not be made public until next year. They must be signed off by the Australian Health Ethics Committee and the council.

The Australian Christian Lobby has written a submission strongly opposing the proposal and has even compared it to abortion.