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September 19, 2015

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Sperm bank kept busy after ad promises cash equal to iPhone

OFFICIALS from the city’s sperm bank have been hooked on the phone ever since they released an ad seeking donors with promises of cash that could buy the latest Apple iPhone.

The ad was released by Shanghai Human Sperm Bank on the social chat network WeChat. The ad, which also published pictures of iPhone 6S, says the cash subsidy for donating sperm was equal to the price of an iPhone 6S.

The prices of Apple’s newest model starts from 5,288 yuan (US$830) on the Chinese mainland. The ad has been viewed by more than 100,000 people since it was released on Monday.

Sperm donors usually receive up to 6,000 yuan as subsidy, which mainly covers the donor’s transportation and nutrition costs as they have to make multiple trips for almost six months.

On normal working day, the bank usually receives about 20 consultation calls. But since the release of the ad, it has been making about 200 to 300 calls per day to the selected few who have registered their personal details on the bank’s website. The actual registration number could be more as the bank chooses only those it deems eligible after checking all the personal details like family disease, height and education.

“As they register online, calling them up is more feasible better than the old-fashioned way,” said Du Yanzhi, who works with the bank. Du told Shanghai Daily that sperm donation campaign was always difficult as the general public shied away from it.

Shanghai Human Sperm Bank said it decided to go online as talks and seminars on the campuses attracted very few participants. College students are the top sperm donors. With youngsters as their target group, the bank decided to explore a new medium to get its message across.

“Actually we’ve also seen an increase in applications from white-collar workers, who consider sperm donation as important as blood donation. They consider it an honorable thing to become a qualified donor,” said Chen Xiangfeng, a doctor with the sperm bank.

The WeChat ad was not the first time that Chinese sperm banks have tried to recruit donors. In July, the country’s seven major sperm banks, including the one from Shanghai, published ads on Juhuasuan, Alibaba’s online group buying site. The ad served the purpose and the seven sperm banks selected 22,071 potential donors, with Shanghai Human Sperm Bank accounting about a quarter of them.

There are about 10 to 15 percent infertile couples in the country. On an average, a couple has to wait at least one year after signing up to get a sperm donation. But it is not easy finding a donor.

“Last year we received only about 4,000 applicants. From them, only 25 percent were good enough,” Chen said.

“The requirements for donated sperms are very high. We have to filter all the applications for family disease, height and education background.”

Since its establishment in 2003, a total of 6,909 children were born with the efforts of the sperm bank.


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