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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
China faces sperm donor shortage
China does not have enough sperm donations to fulfil demand, according to state media reports.

One of the country's five sperm banks, in southern Guangdong province, says that in the last 18 months more than 50 couples a month have sought help.

But only about 350 donations have been received from men with the proper health clearance, the China Daily said.

A medical consultant at the Guangdong sperm bank said many men were too shy to come forward and donate.

Guangdong Human Sperm Bank (GHSB), which was established in April 2003, said it had attracted 700 donors so far, but only about 50% had passed the health examination required.

Compounding the problem is a reluctance to donate.

"Currently, most couples suffering from sterility can seek help from the sperm bank, but many men are still too shy to arrive to the sperm bank to donate their sperm," said Tang Lixin, a senior doctor at GHSB.

Saving for later

According to a recent survey, there are more than 10 million families suffering from sterility in China, the paper said.

As a result, a sperm bank in Shanghai is offering a storage service for young men who want to donate their sperm for use later, when they are ready to have children, Xinhua news agency reported.

But Li Zheng, a doctor in Renji Hospital, Shanghai, warned that this process could be risky.

"Sperm storage is not the same as saving money in a bank. It is possible to store sperm and later discover it is not able to fertilize an egg after years of refrigeration, especially if it was not of especially high quality to begin with," he said.

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