A Chinese court has overturned a rare legal challenge brought by a single Beijing woman seeking the right to freeze her eggs.
The Chaoyang Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing said in a ruling that the hospital did not violate the woman’s rights by denying her access to freeze her eggs.
Teresa Xu received the court sentence on Friday, almost Three years after he first filed the case..
In Porcelainthe national law does not explicitly prohibit single people from accessing services such as fertility treatment and simply states that a “husband and wife” can have up to three children.
In practice, however, hospitals and other institutions implement the regulations in such a way that people are required to show a marriage license. Single women who choose to have children have had difficulty accessing public benefits such as maternity leave or coverage for prenatal exams.
In 2018, Xu, then 30, had gone to the Beijing obstetrics and gynecology hospital at Capital Medical University, a public hospital, to inquire about freezing her eggs. After an initial examination, she was told that she could not proceed because she could not show a marriage certificate. She said the doctor also urged her to have a child when she was still young.
Xu, who is not married, wanted to preserve her eggs so that she would have the option of having children at a later date.
“I think this lost lawsuit is not an attack on single women’s reproductive rights, maybe it’s a temporary setback,” she said in a short video statement announcing the news on her WeChat account.
Xu’s case attracted extensive national media coverage in China, including some state media, when he first brought his case to court in 2019. Local media had said his case against the hospital was the first in the country.
The hospital, according to the ruling, had argued that egg freezing poses certain health risks. But he also said that delaying the pregnancy would bring “problems” such as risks for the mother during pregnancy and “psychological and social problems” if there is a large age difference between the parents and their child.
The hospital also said egg-freezing services were only available to women who couldn’t get pregnant naturally, and not to healthy patients.
Xu said he plans to appeal the ruling.
“There will definitely be a day (when) we will regain sovereignty over our own bodies,” he said.
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