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Shanghai Sperm bank seeking more donors to help infertile couples

By Cai Wenjun   (Shanghai Daily)

09:50, September 11, 2012

(File Phto)

Shanghai Human Sperm Bank, which has been in operation for nine years, said it always lacks volunteers and has had a decline in sperm quality that make couples that can't conceive wait for at least a year to get sperm.

Officials are calling for more young donors to ease the shortage.

The bank has relocated from Puxi to Pudong and had an upgrade in capacity starting this month.

Since 2003, the bank has provided over 33,000 samples to 23 reproductive health centers in Shanghai and other provinces and municipalities across the nation, allowing nearly 4,000 women to get pregnant and deliver 1,956 healthy babies.

The bank now contains over 100,000 samples from 3,289 qualified donors.

Eight to 10 percent of married couples in the nation are infertile, and about 10 percent of them turn to a sperm bank for help in having a child.

Because of improved technology, the possibility of a woman getting pregnant through a donation from Shanghai's sperm bank by artificial insemination has risen from 19.27 percent nine years age to the current 21.23 percent, and from 20 percent to 39.16 percent for in vitro fertilization.

"But the success rate is still low and many couples have to try several times," said a bank official surnamed Lu.

"Many couples tried many years and suffered a lot to have a baby. So donating sperm is such a good deed for the couple and their family."

University students comprise the biggest and most stable pool for Shanghai's sperm bank, which offers lectures and sends brochures to call for volunteers.

But the quality and vitality of male sperm has dropped by 40 to 50 percent in the past 50 years worldwide.

"Only 20 to 30 percent of volunteers give viable donations. The majority is discarded due to its poor quality," said Dr Li Zheng, director of the sperm bank at Renji Hospital.

In addition to collecting donations, the bank also offers a service allowing men to store their sperm. Sperm self-storage can be very meaningful to those who will receive chemotherapy, people with immune disorders and others who are involved in dangerous jobs or experiences. So far, 587 men, including eight expatriates, stored their sperm and the samples have led to the conception of 43 children.

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