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Banking on sperm

2013-01-20 10:05

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Banking on sperm

Editor's note 

Banking on sperm

More than 40 million Chinese people are diagnosed with infertility, 12.5 percent of those of childbearing age. The rapid rise of the infertility rate, which is 3 percent higher than 20 years ago, is most pronounced among people aged between 25 and 30, according to survey results released by China Population Association. >>

Although a growing number of Chinese men are willing to give blood, most are still too embarrassed to even talk about sperm, let alone offer a sample. Some refuse on moral grounds, while others simply fear their friends and family will find out.

Coupled with the cultural stigma, as well as restrictions on donations from men over 45 and homosexuals, the result is a dire shortage of sperm and an average nine-month wait for infertile couples seeking artificial insemination services.

Attractive measures taken by sperm banks such as raising donation subsidies have achieved a certain result, but far from enough. One effective way is to let people better understand the gift of donation, and encourage more to lend helping a hand to those desperate for children.

Frozen assets
SW China gets its first sperm bank Shanghai sperm bank expands after relocation Tough standards at N China's sperm bank

The sperm bank at West China Second University Hospital in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province, was set up on Jan 11, 2013.

The sperm bank preserves sperm for an initial fee of 1,800 yuan and a monthly fee of 60 yuan, for up to five years.

Since 2003, the bank has provided 23 medical institutions in China with more than 30,000 frozen semen samples, helping about 4,000 women to fall pregnant. The new sperm bank is expected to store far more than the present 100,000 semen samples with its bigger space.>>

Only three people out of 22 qualified to donate their sperm after physical examinations.

The standard for sperm concentration at China's Ministry of Health is four times higher than that of WTO, which led to fewer people passing the test, said Zhao Bangrong, director of the sperm bank.>>

China's largest sperm bank, in Changsha, Hunan province, has in all stored 250,000 samples of semen and produced more than 40,000 tube babies.>>  
Banking on sperm

Guangdong sperm bank: more than 95 percent of sperm donors are college students>>

Donation in China

Banking on sperm

The Ministry of Health began allowing sperm banks to open in 2001, setting a maximum limit of one per province or autonomous region. Today, 17 operate nationwide, all of them State-run.

Banking on sperm Only healthy men between the ages of 22 and 45 can give sperm once in their lifetime.

Banking on sperm Gay men and foreign nationals are prohibited.

Banking on sperm Sperm from one donor can be provided to a maximum of five married women (singles are not eligible) and should not be distributed again after a recipient is confirmed pregnant. The restriction is to prevent the risk of marriages between men and women born of the same anonymous donor.

Banking on sperm The density required by licensed clinics in China - 60 million sperm per millimeter - is three times that of the "average healthy male", as defined by the World Health Organization.

Related reading:

Sperm banks reach out for donors amid supply shortage

First person 

‘We will never tell our parents we used a donor’

Wu Jing (not her real time) is a 34-year-old woman in Jiangsu province who had a child through artificial insemination using donated sperm in 2005.

My husband and I had to wait seven months for the sperm bank to find us a sample that was suitable. At the time, I heard that some couples had to wait more than a year.

We paid about 10,000 yuan ($1,500) for the service (it's cheaper if couples the husband's sperm). All we know about the donor is that he was 25 years old at the time and has a similar facial structure to my husband. The sample was only marked with a number.

It’s a secret we’ll have to keep from everyone, including our daughter, until the day we die.>>

Donors' stories

Donor A: 'I am donating, not selling my sperm'

Liu Yan, 22, (not his real name) is a university junior .

I was paid thousands of yuan. Though it is a considerable amount of money for a student like me, I wouldn't like people to say that I'm selling my sperm. It would distort my kind intention.>>

Donor B: 'It takes a lot to be a qualified donor'

Wu Tao, 38, (not real name), a university professor.

The sperm bank staff told me that I was a very preferable donor, mature, smart, healthy and with a higher degree of intelligence.>>

Donor C: 'Donation changed my life'

Kang Jun, 34, (not real name) is a civil servant.

I decided to donate because my brother became infertile after getting injured in a car accident which led divorce.

The donor couldn't have a sex life during the donation period which would last about half a year and forbid taking a sauna, drinking alcohol or smoking. >>

To donate or not?  

Banking on sperm


Does sperm donation harm health?

A: "Donating sperm doesn't harm your health. It will not lead to death in any way."

LUO WENZHI, director of the Guangdong Provincial Population and Family Planning Commission, made the comment through a hotline with listeners of Radio Guangdong.

Responding to the sudden death of a college student after a sperm donation last year in Wuhan, Hubei province, Luo said donating sperm is absolutely safe and will not cause death.

Private sperm donors a real risk

It appears that many of the voluntary sperm donors have mistaken, albeit deliberately, "sperm donation" for "free sex", which can turn the original aim of "sperm donation" into a "sexual trade-off".

Needless to say, this can be detrimental to family stability and harmony in the future and lead to a social crisis.>>

A glimpse of Northwest China's sperm bank

These photos, taken at a sperm bank in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, in Northwest China, show the sperm donation process. [Photo/]

Banking on sperm

Banking on sperm