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April 7, 2010

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Seed need: University men urged to donate

SHANGHAI Sperm Bank will set up a branch at the university town in suburban Songjiang District to offer health and quality tests and educational lectures.

The initiative was aimed at encouraging students to donate, sperm bank officials said at a male-health-education lecture in the city yesterday.

University students represent 95 percent of the sperm-donor pool in Shanghai.

Thus the bank, the only approved sperm testing, collection and storage facility in the city, would set up the branch for students' convenience, the officials said.

The sperm bank is always low on supplies and couples unable to conceive face about a one-year wait after applying for sperm.

Although the bank has about 20,000 units of sperm, many samples are not available for couples, officials said.

Some are still waiting for HIV virus test results or are ineligible as one donor will be used on five women - the maximum allowable under law.

"Less than 10 percent of donors' samples are used due to health reasons or low sperm quality," said Dr Yang Yijie from the bank, which is located at the Renji Hospital.

Cash incentives

Doctors said about 8-10 percent of city couples were infertile and about 10 percent of these turned to a sperm bank to conceive.

"Donating sperm is the same as donating blood and stem cells ... people shouldn't feel ashamed," said Li Zheng, director of the sperm bank.

"In addition to congenital reasons, pollution, job pressures and improper lifestyles, like too much tobacco and alcohol, can cause men to age prematurely and impact upon their reproductive abilities," Li said.

The sperm bank gives 50 yuan (US$7.30) for the first sample and then, if the donor is chosen, 200 yuan for each subsequent healthy sample.

A donor can receive up to 3,500 yuan, which includes a bonus, if he fulfils a quota within three months.

The Renji Hospital is coordinating a male health survey with the cooperation of Changhai Hospital and the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission.

About 1,000 men aged between 40 and 70 in two communities in the Pudong New Area will participate in the survey to paint a picture of overall health.


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