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Gender selection: Australian couple spent $50,000 and travelled to US to have baby girl

Couple sought out gender selection treatment, which is illegal in Australia, after having three boys

With three sons already, Jayne Cornwill and her husband Jon were intent on having a baby girl to complete their “family puzzle”.

So much so, when it came to a fourth child, the couple decided to travel to the US for gender selection treatment – a controversial procedure banned in Australia.

“Obviously we wanted a little girl after having three boys,” Jayne Cornwill told Channel Nine on Monday. “We tried all the natural things, all the diets, all the positions, all the old wives’ tales but none of them worked. That’s when it struck me the hardest, and that’s when we decided we were going to seek medical intervention.”

With non-medical gender selection illegal in Australia, the pair, from Mount Barker in South Australia, flew to fly to the US to undergo the procedure which would allow them to find out their embryos’ gender.

The treatment, known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), was successful and seven months ago the couple’s daughter Emmerson was born.

Cornwill says Emmerson’s birth came after years of “gender disappointment” caused by longing for a daughter.

“It’s like mourning the death of a child you never had,” she said. “My husband wanted a little girl that one day he could walk down the aisle, I wanted a daughter so I could have that relationship ... and our sons wanted a little sister.”

PGD testing to prevent transmission of a genetic abnormality or disease is available around Australia under various acts and guidelines. But regulations prevent the selection of embryos on the basis of preferred sex alone.

The couple say they spent around $50,000 on the overseas treatment.

“It’s not cheap,” Cornwill said. “We had one failed attempt early in the year last year and then the second successful attempt.”

The controversial treatment should be made available to all Australians, Cornwill said.

“Just because you don’t have a use for PGD then simply don’t use it, don’t take that choice away from somebody else because you don’t know how much it may mean to them,” she said.



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