Woman Claims the Right to Freeze Her Eggs in Beijing | Business
BEIJING (AP) – After nearly two years, a single woman who claims the right to freeze her eggs in Beijing takes her case to court on Friday in a rare legal challenge against the country’s restrictions on women singles in reproductive health.
Teresa Xu has been awaiting her second hearing at the Chaoyang People’s Court in Beijing since December 2019. She is suing the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital at Capital Medical University, a public hospital that prohibits her from freezing her eggs, citing national law.
Xu’s victory could mark a milestone for single women in China who want to access public benefits. Unlike the United States, however, Chinese court judgments are not based on precedence.
“From 2018 until now, it’s been three years, and my eggs are getting old with me, and the deadline is more and more pressing,” said Xu, 33.
His case is heard after the latest census data showed population growth was slowing, while the proportion of older people increased. The number of newborns has declined every year since 2016. National statistics showed that 12 million babies were born in 2020, down 18% from 14.6 million in 2019.
Beijing has responded by allowing families to have a third child and said it will revamp its policy to help families who wish to have children.
For decades, China has implemented a “one-child” policy. He eased restrictions slightly in 2015 to allow families to have two children, although that hasn’t changed the overall slowdown in population growth.
Yet some aspects of the system, such as linking reproductive health services and things like maternity benefits to a woman’s marital status, have made it difficult for some. China only allows married couples to access reproductive services and related benefits and they must be able to prove their marital status with the license.
“I hope the signal he sends on the need for population growth will enable single women to make their own choices,” Xu told reporters in court.
Xu went to the hospital in November 2018. When she went to the doctor, she was asked to have a baby instead of freezing her eggs. The doctor also asked to see his marriage license.
Xu said his court hearing has been continually postponed, in part because of the pandemic.
She had briefly considered moving abroad, but the costs – between $ 15,500 and $ 31,000 – were not achievable.
Wu reported from Taipei, Taiwan.
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