Gender disappointment is very real for hundreds of Australian women who share their disappointment after discovering the sex of their child.

ABC’s Lateline will tonight air a show on gender disappointment.

Kate (*not her real name), 29, already has two boys and is five months pregnant with her third boy — a revelation that left her “gutted”.

“I went to the bedroom and cried for a really long time,” she tells Lateline.

“Then my husband came in and he cried as well.

“You feel horrible, because you want to be excited that it’s a boy, but part of you was really disappointed.”

Kate is desperate for a daughter but she insists she doesn’t want a “a ballerina, Barbie girl”.

“I’m not wanting someone that I can dress in pink and tie her hair up. I’m not wanting any of that,” she says.

“It’s just that I always imagined her and she’s always existed. I feel the family isn’t complete without her.”

Kate and others who feel gender disappointment describe it as a guilt-ridden, debilitating depression.

“Unless someone has that desire themselves and feels how it can be all-consuming, they can’t understand what it’s like,” she says.

“It’d be so easy if I could just switch it off and just be happy.”

“To you she doesn’t exist yet, but to us we can’t imagine a life without her,” Kate said.

“It’s really a personal decision and it’s not going to hurt people the way that people seem to think it is.

“It’s not going to affect the gender ratio, and it’s not going to place these unrealistic ideas on the children that are being born.”

Townsville mother-of-four Sarah Williams, has two boys, aged nine and seven, and four-year-old twin girls.

“I will talk to people and they go, ‘Oh you’re so lucky you got the two boys and then you got the two girls’, and I will go, ‘No, luck had nothing to do with that. I had to do some extreme measures to get my girls’,” she says.

After having two boys, Sarah went to California, where gender selection is allowed, to go through an IVF cycle and be implanted only with the female embryos it produced.

Sarah had gone through the same range of emotions Kate is now experiencing.

“It’s gut-wrenching. I would be in tears,” she says.

“It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t have a daughter, and I wanted that because I was so close to my mum that I wanted to be the mum that was that close to my daughter,” she says.

She rejects suggestions sex selection is akin to creating a designer baby.

“We’re very glad we did it, and we don’t have any regrets no matter what anyone says,” she says.

Watch the story tonight on Lateline at 9:30pm (AEDT) on ABC News 24 and 10:30pm on ABC TV.

How do you feel about gender selection?

Share your comments below.

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  • just be thankful to have a child! love the ones that you are blessed with and see the positives! be grateful


  • Don’t agree with gender selection but can understand feeling somewhat disappointed if you really wanted a boy and you have a girl as did I. But she was very much loved and the next child was a boy.


  • My Daughter-In-Law has three beautiful girls. She really wanted a boy and agonised about the sex of her third child praying it would be a boy. Lo and behold another daughter. They are all loved equally and that’s what matters. I don’t believe in gender selection. To me it is all about your genes and that’s good enough for me.


  • My sister’s friend also is pregnant with her third boy and I am told she is disappointed too. Personally, I think you should be happy with what God has given you but that is just me, each to their own.


  • Can’t really comment on this story as I have never experienced the longing for one particular sex. Wishing them well though.


  • I have an only child, a boy. I never imagined I would only have one child but that’s the way life turned out for our family. 4 years trying, 2 and a half of that on IVF, my son born with the absolute last embryo before we were going to give up. I never had a yearning for a boy or a girl, just a yearning for a baby. Each family is different, I know, but I believe we’re given the children we need in our life, and vice versa.


  • I think gender selection is a bit like playing God. As harsh as this is going to sound you should be happy with what you get no matter what- who cares if they are a boy or a girl it doesn’t mean that they can’t still be everything that you dreamed of- there is no reason you won’t have a special relationship and you don’t know what their interests will be or what they are going to be like as they get older. If you don’t feel as though you will be happy regardless of what you get then you shouldn’t even attempt to have kids because it is a 50/50 chance either way.


  • I certainly understand hoping for a certain sex but thankfully I dont understand and have never had to deal with that depth of disappointment.


  • Does it really matter what the gender of your baby is? My niece has recently given birth to her third son, she is so in love with all three of them. Be happy with what God gives you it’s a gift not a choice.


  • Personally I can’t really relate.
    I come from a family of 5 girls. I think my mum would have liked a boy at some point for my dad. But I remember my dad just being proud of his girls-clan.


  • Do know how you felt. I had a son from my previous marriage, then a beautiful baby girl, then another beautiful baby girl but my husband wanted a boy – I was just happy that they were healthy children. Fourth time around a bouncing baby boy – but he could somehow never accept he was his.
    Such a pity – he is the image of his father’s youngest uncle.


  • I know one family who have 4 boys, They would have liked a girl but it never happened.
    I know another family who have 5 girls. They would have liked a boy to take over the business which was heavy work and labour intensive. Back then there was no training for girls, either at school or at Tafe.


  • I understand these feelings but at the same time I cant truly relate. I was desperately wanting a boy and last week we found out that I am pregnant with a boy, the joy I felt was overwhelming. If it had been a girl i dont know how i would have felt


  • You can understand,though as long as your baby is healthy that is all that matters.


  • My older three sons are about two years apart in age and there was still born daughter between the older two. I was a bit disappointed but this was how it was. When my youngest of that lot was about 15, we had a surprise in store. Not wanting to be disappointed did not find out the sex of the baby and we had a girl. My sons were happy and so was I to get through it as I was told I could not have anymore. At 51 along came my twins boy/girl. So yes it can disappointing when it happens , but having the same sex children can be fun at times.


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