Ever heard of “gender disappointment”? Jayne and Jon Cornwill certainly have. It’s what drove the Australian couple to mortgage their house, fly to California, and cough up nearly $50,000 to take advantage of technology called pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) for a single purpose: to choose the sex of their baby at the outset of pregnancy, a practice that’s illegal in their home country.
“My husband wanted a little girl that he could one day walk down the aisle. I wanted that relationship — the bond between a mother and daughter,” Jayne explained recently on Australia’s “Today” show. After giving birth to three sons, she says she suffered from “gender disappointment,” noting, “It’s like mourning the death of a child you never had” and “like any other form of depression.” In a first-person piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald, she elaborated on why she traveled to Newport Beach to see Dr. Daniel Potter, who has serviced more than 1,000 other Australian clients. She wrote, “My desire for a daughter caused me to spiral into depression and left me virtually housebound. Every time I went out, toddlers in pink seemed to taunt me.”
The story of the Cornwill’s successful quest for a baby girl has been widely covered in the Australian and British presses this week, reigniting discussion over the controversial practice of sex selection using PGS technology. The process — which can only be conducted as a part of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment — screens embryos to make sure they have the right number of chromosomes and that they are free of abnormalities that could signal disorders such as Downs Syndrome and Trisomy 18.
But PGS also reveals the sex of an embryo with a nearly 100-percent accuracy rate, leading to an explosion of perfectly fertile couples opting for unnecessary IVF treatments.
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