At the age of 24, Lu Yi had graduated from Stanford University with a business degree, founded a business in Shanghai to help Chinese patients receive cancer care from American specialist doctors, and was unsure about when she would have time or be ready to start a family.
“I knew at some point I might want to have children, but definitely not now,” Lu, who is single, told The New York Times.
Lu decided to have her eggs frozen, and became one of an increasing number of Chinese women traveling abroad for the procedure, which is rare in China and often denied to single women and even couples because of the country’s strict family planning laws.
“There is still a lack of enthusiasm for reproductive technologies, because the government is worried about the negative impact on its population policies, and possible problems like a black market for human eggs,” Wang Hongxia, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Times. “So the solution was to ban them at the cost of reproductive rights for certain groups, like unmarried women.”
Last year, Chinese actress Xu Jinglei announced on Weibo that she had her eggs frozen in the United States in 2013, setting off a public debate over fertility treatments, and an online poll taken shortly after found 80 percent of respondents were against a ban on egg freezing for single women.
Now, medically-focused travel agencies are turning their attention to the women of China who may be interested in reproductive procedures abroad, including ones that have set up offices in both North America and China. Most of the patients, according to one travel agent, are affluent well-educated women in their 30s who can afford the $11,000 to $16,000 price tag. Lu is one of the women that could afford it, and now that she is back at work at the company she founded, she told the times her decision to freeze her eggs “changed nothing and everything.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.