China / Hot Issues

Sperm bank uses iPhone lure in campaign to attract donors

By ZHOU LIHUA in Wuhan and WANG XIAODONG in Beijing ( Updated: 2015-09-17 15:24

Healthy young males in Central China’s Hubei province craving an iPhone 6S but lacking the funds have a new way to make some quick cash - by donating sperm.

"An iPhone 6S costs at least 5,288 yuan ($830) on the Chinese mainland, and now you can easily own one without having to sell a kidney. Hubei Province Human Sperm Bank wishes you will own a 6S," the sperm bank says in an advertisement posted on WeChat, a popular mobile communication service.

According to the promotion, headed "A new plan to buy an iPhone 6S", a donor can receive 5,000 yuan after donating 40 milliliters of sperm, meaning they need only add another 288 yuan to get a phone.

Potential donors must be healthy and between 22 and 45 years old, and can receive a transport subsidy of 100 yuan from their home to the sperm bank. It is the only certified human sperm bank in Hubei province and is located at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan.

Donors must also undergo physical examinations including tests of sperm quality and screening for infectious diseases.

A donor must visit the bank six to eight times, depending on the amount of sperm produced on each visit, and an interval of at least four days is required between donations.

"Donors should bring with them identification cards and education certificates. A high-school diploma is the least requirement," a member of staff said. "A number of people have enquired in the past few days".

Hubei Province Human Sperm Bank raised the subsidy for donations from 4,000 to 5,000 yuan in 2011 to try and attract more people, according to a statement on the bank’s website.

On average, less than 100 people successfully donate annually which falls far short of demand from couples, the bank said.

Most donors in Hubei are college students who are better educated and of the right age, the bank said.

Sperm banks in China have faced severe shortages in recent years and in some places less than 30 percent of donations have met standards, according to media reports.

In July, E-commerce giant Alibaba ran a promotion on behalf of seven sperm centers in China and attracted more than 20,000 men to sign up.

It is less embarrassing for donors to sign up on line rather than going to sperm centers, according to Alibaba.

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