By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
An Australian couple who recently aborted twin boys because they are determined to have a daughter, is petitioning the courts to allow them to choose the sex of their next child.
The Herald Sun is reporting that the Victoria couple, who cannot be named, are the parents of three boys who lost their only daughter shortly after she was born. Since that time, the mother has become so “obsessed” with having a daughter that it is now a matter of her psychological health.
She is so determined to have a daughter that she recently aborted twin boys who were conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Although the couple claims the decision was traumatic, they feel they had no choice because they couldn’t continue to have an unlimited number of children while trying to have a girl.
Their three sons were all conceived naturally and they are resorting to IVF purely for the purpose of determining the sex of the next child they bring to life.
Her husband says: “After what we have been through we are due for a bit of luck. We want to be given the opportunity to have a girl.”
The law is not on their side. Victoria’s Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act of 2008 bans sex selection unless it is necessary to avoid the risk of transmission of a genetic abnormality or genetic disease to a child. All IVF clinics in Australia must stay within National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines that say sex selection should not be done except to reduce the transmission of a serious genetic condition.
An independent panel, known as the Patient Review Panel, recently rejected the couple’s bid to choose the sex of their next child using IVF. They are now appealing that decision.
Australian IVF pioneer Gab Kovacs who is not involved in the case told the Herald he could not understand why the couple was being banned from having a girl.
“I can’t see how it could harm anyone,” he said. “Who is this going to harm if this couple have their desire fulfilled?”
But ethicists don’t agree. Gene Ethics director Bob Phelps said such a case could open the floodgates.
“I’m sorry they lost their daughter but, in the interests of society as a whole, they should seek some counselling for their grief and look for another way of getting a daughter into their family,” he said, and suggested adoption.
The couple disagrees and feels they have a right to the daughter they were tragically denied.
This way of thinking is one of the reasons why the Church opposes the use of in vitro fertilization.
“A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift,” the Catechism teaches. “The ‘supreme gift of marriage’ is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged ‘right to a child’ would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right ‘to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents,’ and ‘the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.’ (#2378)
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