Tuesday, December 20, 2011

China faces sperm donor dearth

This seems like an irony, in my opinion... China losing out on reproduction?

By Kristine Lim
Posted: 15 November 2011

A newborn baby.
SHANGHAI, China: China faces a shortage of sperm donors, and the quality of sperm adds to the infertility problem as more couples seek out sperm banks.

Only about five to 10 per cent of sperm donations make the mark.

The hectic pace of life, stress at work, as well as a changing environment with more pollution and exposure to elements such as radiation affect fertility.

In Shanghai, about 2,500 couples seek out the sperm bank each year.

They can wait up to three years for a donor.

Shanghai Human Sperm Bank head Li Zheng said: "If you come to the hospital and take a look at the men without sperm or who are infertile, you will see how much stress they have.

"For me, it is really difficult to break the news that he cannot have children at the end of the treatment.

"It is a huge blow to the men. They face a lot of pressure and the only way they can make their wife pregnant and build a family is by seeking out a sperm donation."

But the sperm bank is unable to find enough suitable donations to meet demand.

Because the sperm is frozen at low temperatures in liquid nitrogen, donated sperm has to be of high quality.

Donors with genetic diseases or HIV will also be screened out.

The entire sperm-donation process takes about nine months.

Apart from the initial checkups, donors have to return six months after donation for further HIV tests.

But with an increasingly mobile population in China, many do not turn up for the last step, which means all the previous efforts would go to waste.

The traditional mindset is also stopping many from coming forward as donors.

Awkwardness and shyness are some of the reasons Chinese men cited for not stepping forward.

One man said: "I am going to get married soon; I don't wish to have other children elsewhere in future. What if they come to acknowledge me as their father?"

Another added: "You don't know when you'll see someone looking a lot like you on the streets, then discover he is your child."

However, others are a little more open to the idea.

One man said: "Perhaps I will consider but for now, I don't have much time apart from work to do this form of charity."

"I think it is okay. It's like donating blood," said another.

About 85 per cent of current sperm donors are university students.

But the sperm bank hopes others, such as married men with children, can come forward as donors.

- CNA/wk

Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
China faces sperm donor dearth

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