A $50 charge to learn the sex of unborn babies will soon be implemented in all British Columbia hospitals, the Ministry of Health Services said yesterday.

The “gender determination” fee is already charged at Lions Gate and Richmond General hospitals.

A Ministry of Health Services spokeswoman said in an email to Metro Vancouver that while hospitals regularly perform ultrasounds to assess the health and development of the fetus, they do not regularly check for gender when performing the procedure.

If the sex of the baby is obvious during an ultrasound, the technician notes it in the report and the mother can ask the doctor for the information for free after 20 weeks. If gender isn’t noted and expectant parents ask, a $50 fee will be charged for the additional service that requires more of the technician’s time, the email said.

Leanne Maximnuk, an expectant Vancouver mother who found out her baby’s sex a few weeks ago, said parents have the right to know and not be charged for the information.

“That’s ridiculous,” she said. “I had to make a separate appointment to find out the gender. Charging $50 is stupid.”

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