China / Society

Sperm bank uses iPhone lure in campaign to attract donors

By Zhou Lihua in Wuhan and Wang Xiaodong in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-21 07:59

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 wants you to own a 6S," the sperm bank says in an advertisement posted on WeChat, a popular messaging app.

According to the promotion, headlined "A new plan to buy an iPhone 6S", a donor will be paid 5,000 yuan for 40 milliliters of semen, meaning he needs only another 288 yuan to get a phone.

Potential donors must be healthy and between 22 and 45 years old. They can receive a transportation subsidy of 100 yuan from their home to the sperm bank, the only certified facility in Hubei province, 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 semen produced on each visit. An interval of at least four days is required between donations.

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

The sperm bank raised the subsidy for donations from 4,000 to 5,000 yuan in 2011 to attract more people, according to a statement on its website.

On average, fewer 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 within the required age range, the bank said.

Sperm banks in China have faced severe shortages in recent years and in some places less than 30 percent of the donations met the 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 more discreet for donors to sign up online rather than going the sperm center in person, the promotion said.

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