Chinese court rules against unmarried woman trying to freeze eggs

A court in China has dismissed a rare legal challenge brought by a Beijing unmarried woman who is seeking the right to have her eggs frozen.

The Chaoyang Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing ruled that the hospital had not violated the woman’s rights by denying her access to egg freezing.

Teresa Xu received the court verdict on Friday, nearly three years after she first filed the case.

In China, national law does not specifically prohibit unmarried people from receiving services such as fertility treatments, merely stating that a “husband and wife” can have up to three children.

In practice, however, hospitals and other institutions are implementing the regulations by requiring people to present a marriage certificate. Unmarried women who choose to have children face difficulties in accessing public benefits such as maternity leave or antenatal screening benefits.

In 2018, Xu, then 30, went to the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital at Capital Medical University, a public hospital, to ask about her egg freezing. After an initial examination, she was told she could not proceed further because she could not produce a marriage certificate. She said the doctor also urged her to have a child when she was young.

Xu, who is unmarried, wanted to save her eggs so she would have the opportunity to have children later.

“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 drew widespread coverage from domestic media in China, including some state media, when she first brought her case to court in 2019. Local media had said her case against the hospital was the first in the country.


According to the verdict, the hospital had argued that freezing egg cells poses certain health risks. But it also said that delaying pregnancy would pose “problems” such as risks for the mother during pregnancy and “psychological and societal problems” if there is a large age difference between parents and their child.

The hospital also said that egg freezing is only available for women who cannot conceive naturally and not for healthy patients.

Xu said she plans to appeal the verdict.

“There will definitely come a day when we regain sovereignty over our own bodies,” she said. Chinese court rules against unmarried woman trying to freeze eggs

Fry Electronics Team

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