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A hearing on China"s first legal case over the rights of unmarried women to access egg-freezing services adjourned with no decision announced on Monday, according to the Beijing Chaoyang District People"s Court, which is handling the case.
An unmarried woman in Beijing, surnamed Xu, recently filed a lawsuit against the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Capital Medical University for rejecting her request to have her eggs harvested and frozen on the grounds that she was unable to present a marriage license, according to a statement released by the court on Monday.
Under the regulation that governs the use of assisted reproductive technology in China, service providers are barred from offering such fertility services, including egg-freezing, to unmarried women.
The regulation, published by the country"s top health authority, formerly known as the Ministry of Health, saw its latest revision in 2003.
The case is still pending, the court said.
Xu, 31, said she first approached the hospital"s reproductive department last November to consult its egg-freezing services.
"I got a job promotion recently, so it feels like I won"t be able to shift my focus from the workplace to child bearing in the next few years," Xu said.
"Meanwhile, I do not want to regret not having a child at a later age, so I decided to seek egg-retrieval services."
She soon completed a series of health checkups that cleared her for the upcoming procedures, but she was eventually rejected by the hospital for failing to prove her marital status.
Yu Liying, the attorney representing Xu, said the case was initially brought up as a dispute over medical contracts, which was turned down by multiple courts.
The case was later modified as a lawsuit against the hospital for violating gender equality as stated in the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women and infringing on the personality rights of Xu. In September, the court in Beijing"s Chaoyang district accepted the case.
According to Xu, the attorney representing the hospital argued during the one-hour hearing that there is a higher possibility for single-parent families to face parenting issues.
In addition, the wider application of egg-freezing technologies could further delay the childbearing age of women and gives rise to ethical concerns.
"It is up to women to evaluate and decide whether to have a child," Xu said.
"In some cases, the credentials of regular couples" abilities to rear a child are questionable, and many people have done so simply out of a desire to abide by the social norm."
The development of reproductive technologies and the shift in social values have extended the boundaries of fertility, she added.
By bringing her personal appeal to the court, Xu also intended to shine a light on the neglected desire for unmarried women to have children and draw attention from health authorities.
Egg-freezing services sparked widespread discussion in China for the first time in 2015 when Xu Jinglei, a famous Chinese actress, announced that she underwent a medical procedure to freeze her eggs in the United States.
In the past, the issue has also been debated by the country"s deputies to the National People"s Congress, China"s top legislative body, who appealed for lifting restrictions surrounding the fertility rights of unmarried women.silicone wristbands made in americamake rubber braceletsembossed wristbandscustomized friendship bracelets onlinegreen rubber bracelet meaning