The Australian Christian Lobby has raised concerns over a proposal for Australians to be able to pick the sex of their baby under proposed IVF law changes.

The Australian Health Ethics Committee is meeting on Wednesday to consider advice about new ethical guidelines for Australia’s IVF industry put forward by a working committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The chairman of the working committee recently suggested that the proposed changes may open the way for couples to select the gender of their third child.

ACL spokesperson Wendy Francis said opening up discrimination on the basis of sex sent the wrong message about the inherent value of humans.

“It makes no difference if it is for a first child or third child, most Australians would agree that discrimination based on sex is always wrong,” she said.

“The autonomy of the parent to choose the sex of their child should never trump the need for the child to be loved unconditionally. What approach to parenting will we adopt if we start eliminating human life in its early stages for being the wrong sex? It sends all the wrong messages to children about unconditional love.”

Some cultures practice sex-selective abortion and there is a widespread use of pre-natal testing and abortion to prevent the birth of girls in China and India.

“Commercialising egg donations, which is currently illegal in Australia, is also being considered by AHEC. This too would be a backwards step,” Ms Francis said.

“If same-sex marriage was introduced into Australia the consequence will be increased calls to remove the prohibition on the sale of eggs and calls for the commercial surrogacy which will have fundamental bearings on the right of a child to be, wherever possible, be brought up by a mum and a dad.”

The Committee will meet to discuss the draft ethical guidelines on 3 August. The Committee may approve the draft guidelines or refer them back to the working committee for further advice or amendments.

Read ACL’s submission to the committee here


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