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A leading IVF clinic is helping clients choose the sex of their baby by sending them to an overseas clinic it co-owns, avoiding Australian rules which allow the practice only for medical reasons.

Sydney IVF, which has several clinics in NSW as well as in Canberra, Perth and Tasmania, is part-owner of Superior ART, a Thai clinic that will provide IVF for ''family balancing'' - when families with children of one gender are seeking another child of the opposite sex.

It costs $11,000 including flights and accommodation, a spokesman for Sydney IVF said.

Australian fertility clinics are prohibited from offering sex selection for non-medical reasons by national ethical guidelines by which they must abide to be accredited.

But Sydney IVF maintains it is not doing anything wrong, arguing the rules banning the procedure are hurting Australian families.

The National Health and Medical Research Council's health ethics committee developed the guidelines. Its chairwoman, Sandra Hacker, said Australians generally believed parents should not be allowed to choose their child's gender to "balance" out their family.

"The right to life should not be...