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February 14, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Sperm bank confirms plea for donors was genuine

NOTICES seeking sperm donors have been appearing all over Shanghai, astonishing residents who suspected an illegal racket.

However, the Shanghai Human Sperm Bank said yesterday that the notices were legitimate but put up by volunteers who are "too eager" to boost sperm donation in the city.

The notice says donors can earn up to 3,500 yuan (US$555) and urges them to "please donate your sperm and donate your care to help others."

A photograph of a notice at a residential complex in Putuo District was posted on yesterday.

"I wondered if it was an illegal advertisement. It turned out to be a real one after I called the number on the notice," the poster said. "A sperm bank official said it was posted by some sperm bank promoters, who may be too eager to boost the donation."

Sperm bank officials said the bank usually holds lectures and posts advertisements on sperm donation at local universities to recruit students, who now represent the majority of the sperm-donor pool in Shanghai.

"We always lack enough donated sperm due to the large number of couples who are infertile and the low percentage of qualified samples," said an official surnamed Xu.

"It may be effective to put such notices in residential areas."

She said that just 10 percent of donors were qualified to give samples due to health reasons including congenital causes, unhealthy lifestyles or low sperm quality.

And samples from one qualified donor can only be used on five women - the maximum allowed under the law.

"That's why we are always recruiting donors," Xu said.

Currently, the bank, the only approved facility in the city for sperm testing, collection and storage, has more than 20,000 units of donated sperm. Every year, it helps thousands of couples unable to conceive naturally to have a baby.

Local doctors say that about 8-10 percent of city couples are infertile and about 10 percent of those turn to the sperm bank to help them conceive.


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