The “Standards for Human Assisted Reproductive Technology” issued by the former Ministry of Health in 2001 and revised in 2003 stipulated that assisted reproductive technologies should not be provided to couples or single women who do not meet the requirements of national population and family planning regulations. This policy is the source of the hospital’s refusal to provide egg freezing services to Xu Zaozao.
“I think it should be updated, the only difference is whether it should be updated now or in five or ten years. I hope this case can stimulate discussions and research among the public, even if the update can be slightly advanced,” Xu Zaozao told Southern Weekly reporters.
For more than four years, Xu Zaozao has continuously sought judicial support for her right to freeze eggs. As the first person in the country to bring a “single women freezing eggs case,” she has been interviewed by the media hundreds of times over the years, sharing how the incident occurred, her thoughts, and her decisions. For her, each narration is a self-reflection.
Xu Zaozao’s transformation has been observed by her attorney, Dong Xiaoying. Dong Xiaoying told Southern Weekly reporters, “During the litigation process, Xu Zaozao realized what she wants, and she has become stronger and more determined.”
The external environment is also changing. Xu Zaozao has noticed that compared to four years ago, the domestic policies concerning egg freezing seem to be in a more favorable environment. She cited examples, such as during the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in recent years, where many delegates and committee members have shown concern for the reproductive needs of unmarried women. In early 2023, the Sichuan Provincial Health Commission simplified the requirements for fertility registration and removed the condition of marital status. Meanwhile, the National Health Commission is soliciting expert opinions on opening up egg freezing services for single women. Based on these changes, Xu Zaozao has a more optimistic expectation for the outcome of the second trial.
However, beyond policy considerations, egg freezing involves various practical issues, such as medical ethics and potential health risks associated with the technology. Consequently, the topic remains controversial (as detailed in related reports, “Second Trial of the First Single Women Freezing Eggs Case: Experts Explain Four Major Controversies”). Xu Zaozao is prepared for the possibility of losing the case again and said, “Even if I lose, it will not affect my continued attention and advocacy for this issue.”