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2019-12-23 10:11:27

A 31-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit against a Beijing hospital whose staff allegedly refused to freeze her eggs because she was unmarried. The case has attracted considerable attention as the first of its kind in China.

The plaintiff, who asked to be identified as Xu Zaozao, said that after she visited Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital in March to inquire about the procedure, a doctor there encouraged her to get married and have children naturally, before refusing to assist her.

After the trial began Monday, Xu said her chief concern is to raise awareness about the reproductive rights of Chinese women, especially those who are single.

“China’s reproductive culture is too conservative,” Xu told Sixth Tone. According to domestic law, only a woman with a valid marriage license may freeze her eggs — though such restrictions do not apply to single men seeking to freeze their sperm.

“I hope my case will challenge this discriminatory culture,” Xu said. “I want society to know that women, regardless of their marital status, have the right to make decisions about their lives autonomously.”

When reached Monday, a publicity officer at Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital declined to answer specific questions about the case, saying only that the hospital “strictly adheres to the law.”

A verdict is not expected until next year, according to Xu’s lawyer. (Image: Courtesy of Xu Zaozao)