Sex Selection

At Genea, we routinely receive inquiries from patients wanting to access gender selection technology for family balancing reasons. While it is not illegal to offer gender selection for non-medical reasons, the practice is contrary to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines.

All Australian fertility clinics are required to comply with the NHMRC guidelines as part of the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee Code of Practice.

While Genea complies with the NHMRC and does not offer gender selection to patients wanting to balance their families, we respectfully disagree with the regulatory ban on sex selection for family balancing reasons currently in place in Australia.

You can access more information on the regulatory ban on the NHMRC website – In particular, you can read the Ethical Guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research.

The objections to sex selection are listed on page 92 of the Guidelines and comprise:

  • Sex selection is incompatible with the parent-child relationship being one that involves unconditional acceptance;

  • Sex selection may be an expression of sexual prejudice, in particular against girls. As practised today around the world, it generally reflects and contributes to bias and discrimination against women

    • [Genea’s experience was that there was a 59:41 preference for girls – and that women were the predominant driver of the IVF-based sex selection process]; and 

  • Sex selection harms men in some cultural groups (by contributing to the shortage of women for men to marry)

    • [our evidence was the opposite].


Prior to 2005, sex selection for family balancing reasons was allowed in Australia and at Genea it was undertaken by a small number of couples, no more than three per cent of our total treatment cycles. The treatment did not attract a Medicare rebate and our experience was that the number of couples seeking a boy or a girl was almost equal. We suspended our sex selection program in February 2005 following the release of the update to the NHMRC guidelines.


After more than 30 years helping people get pregnant, we understand how hard it can be to sort through your fertility options.

That is why we introduced our Fertility Advisor service. You can speak with one of our advisors, helping you to move towards gaining control of your fertility, without taking what we understand can be a daunting step of seeing a specialist.

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How can we help you?

Sex selection for medical reasons

The NHMRC guidelines do allow the performance of gender or sex selection in order to reduce the risk of transmission of a serious genetic condition that might occur in one sex and not the other.

We use a technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD to select either male or female embryos depending on the condition you are trying to avoid. This form of treatment has some assistance from Medicare. We explain the process in the PGD section of our website or you can call us on 1300 361 795 to talk it through or ask Genea’s Fertility Advisor