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Sperm bank calls for more deposits

By Deng Jingyin (Global Times)

08:30, September 07, 2012

Beijing faces a shortage of sperm donors, with couples having to wait up to two years for fertility treatment at the capital's only sperm bank.

The problem is too few donors are coming forward, said a researcher surnamed Zhao at Beijing's sperm bank in Haidian district, which is run by the Research Institute of National Population and Family Planning Commission.

The sperm bank receives 20 donors a day at most, but normally fewer than 10.

"The number of sperm donors has declined in recent months, but the demand is still there, so we hope more volunteers will come to donate," Zhao said.

Many people started to question the safety of sperm donation after a medical student from Wuhan, Hubei Province, died at a sperm bank shortly after making a donation in February 2011.

According to the regulations set by Ministry of Health, only healthy men between 22 and 45 years old can donate sperm once in their lifetime.

"Foreign people and gay men are not allowed to donate sperm in China," Zhao said without giving any further explanation.

Experts have claimed that it is completely safe to donate sperm.

"It's safe to give sperm in China. Donors are given health instructions during the process," Chen Zhenwen, a professor from the research institute of the family planning commission told the Global Times Thursday.

He pointed out that supply cannot keep up with demand because donating sperm is still a very sensitive topic for Chinese people, instead of people thinking it is dangerous to give the donation.

"The main problem facing sperm donation is confidentiality. We have to keep the source of the sperm a secret, otherwise it may cause social problems," Chen said.

A sperm donor who is also a Beijing college student told the Global Times that he is willing to make more donations if possible, as he will be paid, as well as getting a free health check. The donor will be tested, including for HIV over some weeks, prior to making the one-time only donation.

"I was paid 3,000 ($472) yuan 'allowance' for undergoing the process which lasted several months. I don't think it will endanger our health or even our life," said the student.

Beijing's sperm shortage reflects a nationwide issue, after a family planning official in Guangdong Province appealed for more donors to do their civic duty on Tuesday.

China has only 22 sperm banks, and more than 10 percent of couples experience infertility, the director of a sperm bank in Jiangxi Province told the Global Times Wednesday.

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