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August 1, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Sperm bank rejects single women

THE Shanghai Sperm Bank has turned down several requests from single women wanting to have a baby.

The city's only sperm bank, at Renji Hospital, is always short of donated sperm, which must be provided to infertile couples according to Ministry of Health rules.

Officials said yesterday that they had received a few requests earlier this year for sperms from single women, who were either celibate or couldn't find a suitable partner.

The center refused all these requests, since the ministry has clear regulations on recipients of donated sperm, said Dr Li Zheng, the sperm bank's director.

Giving sperm to single women could result in social problems frustrating both the women and such children, he added.

In fact, delivering an extramarital baby itself violated the nation's population and family planning law and was punishable by a fine. According to the law, only a legal couple are allowed to have children and there are detailed rules on the number of children allowed by provincial population authorities.

The bank's current supply can't keep up with demand.

Officials said sperm donation had not been accepted by the public in the same light as blood or stem cell donation and, in addition, the quality of sperm had been dropping in recent years. "Donating sperm is the same good deed as donating blood, but both donors and society still feel ashamed about it," said a Renji doctor, surnamed Chen, who is specializing in reproduction.

Due to unhealthy lifestyles, environmental pollution and increased stress, both the quantity and quality of sperm had dropped by 40 to 50 percent worldwide in the past 50 years.

In Shanghai, about 10 percent of couples suffer infertility, and 10 percent of them turn to the sperm bank.

Since it was set up six years ago, the bank has helped more than 700 women become pregnant.

By the middle of last year, it had over 25,700 samples from some 800 qualified donors. Many volunteers, most university students, were rejected due to poor sperm quality.

In addition to correcting lifestyle to ensure better sperm quality, officials also suggested that young and middle-aged men should store sperm if they wanted to postpone being a parent or were facing radiation therapy, chemotherapy or surgery.


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