Chinese woman looking to freeze her eggs makes last appeal in court in Beijing

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Teresa Xu, an unmarried 35-year old Chinese woman, began her final appeal in a Beijing court on Tuesday, where she is suing a public hospital in the Chinese capital for violating her rights by refusing to freeze her eggs because she is unmarried.

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Xu, a freelance writer, first lodged the claim against the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital in November 2019 in a landmark case of a Chinese woman fighting for her reproductive rights.

Guangzhou-based Xu's appeal comes as authorities’ attitudes to opening up reproductive technologies for unmarried women have begun to shift as they grapple to stem a decline in births after China posted its first population drop in six decades.

“I have more hope and confidence this time around compared to the first instance trial,” Xu told a gaggle of reporters waiting outside the court before the trial started.

“If I get the verdict I’ve been hoping for, I will act at once,” Xu said, explaining that she would freeze her eggs at a Chinese public hospital as soon as possible.

Concerned about China’s and its rapid ageing, the government’s political advisers proposed in March that single and unmarried women should have access to egg freezing and in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, among other services.

It is difficult for unmarried women across the country to access fertility treatments such as IVF and egg freezing technologies due to a national rule that they must be married.

Some private clinics in provinces such as in the southwestern Sichuan province have already begun permitting IVF due to falling births.

Liberalizing fertility treatments nationwide could unleash more demand in what is already the world’s biggest market, and strain limited fertility services, said investors and industry executives.

“If (the country) decides to allow single women to freeze their eggs from the standpoint of encouraging childbirth, this will definitely help single women to have children,” she said.

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