China’s sperm bank shortage blamed on lack of donors, rather than changes to family planning rules

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 July, 2016, 5:16pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 July, 2016, 5:17pm

China’s sperm banks are experiencing a shortage because there aren’t enough qualified applicants, says the head of the nation’s largest facility.

An earlier state media report said the scrapped one-child policy had led to more couples seeking donated sperm.

But this was misleading according to Lu Guangxiu, the chairman of the Reproductive & Genetic Hospital of Citic-Xiangya in the central province of Hunan, China News Service reported.

The clients for sperm banks were mostly infertile couples without children – not parents who wanted a second one, Lu said, dismissing the report in March by the same news service.

Low sperm count: Sperm bank in northern China short of supplies after scrapping of one-child policy boosts demand

Men – especially those at university who are ideal donors – were leading unhealthier lifestyles, which included staying up late, Lu said. They were also having more sex, which could reduce sperm quality.

According to figures from Hunan Sperm Bank Database, the rate of qualified donors dropped from 45.9 per cent in 2006 to 17.9 per cent in 2015, the report said.

Sperm donation has long been problematic in China, given traditional views about the sacrosanctity of preserving blood lines within a family lineage.

Passing the genetic link of a man to a stranger is often viewed as embarrassing and unacceptable, and cases of donors withdrawing from programmes under the pressure from parents and girlfriends were quite common, according to Fan Liqing, the hospital’s deputy president.