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There isn't legislation in Australia to determine if terminating an abortion on the grounds of gender is legal. The only regulation on gender selection in Australia was thought for assisted reproductive technology. However, the ethical discussion behind the practise of sex selection is based on the same arguments, regardless of the methods used to choose the gender.

Australian doctors' practise on assisted reproductive technology (ART) is regulated by the "Ethical guidelines for the clinical practice of ART", agreed and published in 2007. Access the report HERE 

According to this document, "The Australian Health and Ethics Committee believes that admission to life should not be conditional upon a child being a particular sex. Therefore, pending further community discussion, sex selection (by whatever means) must not be undertaken except to reduce the risk of transmission of a serious of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for sex selection.

The focus of the discussion in the apendix C of the guidelines is on the nonmedical use of selection by sex, that is to say, sex selection for the purpose of choosing the sex of a future child.

The document includes a series of reasons in support and against the availability of sex selection in Australia.

In support:

  • Sex selection permits ‘family balancing’.
  • Sex selection may enable parents to fulfil religious obligations or cultural expectations.
  • Sex selection is properly thought of as a matter for individual autonomy.


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

The NHMRC is currently looking at the ethical issues in reproduction and have taken many submissions. Access the review.