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Sperm bank in need of more donations
By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-18 07:48

GUANGZHOU: Guangdong Human Sperm Bank (GHSB), one of China's five banks of its kind, is lacking enough sperm to accommodate the growing number of couples who arrive to the sperm bank in search of help.

The sperm bank, one of the five official sperm banks in the country, receives more than 50 couples suffering from sterility monthly, according to Tang Lixin, a senior doctor from GHSB, yesterday.

The large number of couples visiting the clinic has continued to grow since the beginning of the year, Tang told China Daily.

But GHSB, which was established in April 2003, has attracted about 700 sperm donors so far.

Of them, about 50 per cent have passed the strict health examination and have donated their sperm to GHSB.

Some couples who have registered with the sperm bank to apply for sperm have to wait for several months for sperm, Tang said.

In addition to local residents, GHSB's applicants also include couples from other parts of the Chinese mainland, the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and overseas Chinese from South America, he said.

"Currently, most couples suffering from sterility can seek help from the sperm bank, but many men are still too shy to arrive to the sperm bank to donate their sperm," Tang said.

Wang Zhenquan, a local white-collar worker, said he would never donate sperm in any sperm bank because he was afraid of being discriminated against by his colleagues and friends.

Wang said his girlfriend might also oppose his donating of sperm.

To improve GHSB's awkward position, Tang Lixin urged more local men who are healthy and between 22 and 45 years old to contribute to the cause, via donating sperm, to help the increasing number of couples who suffer from sterility.

GHSB has recently opened a hotline for local men to donate sperm and established a website to let more people learn about the sperm bank.

Tang said his sperm bank expects to attract more college students and postgraduates to donate sperm in the future.

Tang promised his sperm bank would never disclose the identity of the sperm donors.

According to relevant regulations, the sperm donated by a man can be used only by five women to avoid future consanguineous marriages.

Single women will not be allowed to apply for sperm, Tang said.

The sperm bank helps only those who are truly in need, Tang added.

Important role

Tang predicts sperm banks in China will play an increasingly important role in helping couples suffering from sterility and will have great potential in the future.

According to a recent survey, there are more than 10 million families suffering from sterility in the country with a population of more than 1.3 billion.

At least 1 million of the families suffer sterility due to husbands with low sperm counts or other diseases.

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