Black-market sperm donation on the rise in China

Black-market sperm donation on the rise in China

CHINA - Ms Yu Hua and her husband have been desperate for a child and even signed up at the Shanxi Human Sperm Bank. The couple from Shanxi Province waited for a year for a donor but without success.

Then Mr Huang, a professional sperm donor, came along. He was among the 10 potential donors who replied after Ms Yu Hua posted her particulars on an online forum for infertile couples.

Mr Huang is similar to her husband - who is tall, handsome, smart and healthy - and they even have the same blood group.

Ms Yu Hua told China's Global Times: "The reproductive medical centre told us that we would have to wait for another 15 months, after I have done all the medical checkups. I'm already 32 and could not wait any longer."

The couple, who signed with Mr Huang for sperm donation, are among the growing number of Chinese couples who are resorting to the Internet-based sperm black market, despite the lack of safeguards.

Unusual guarantee

Mr Huang also told Ms Yu Hua and her husband that he could guarantee conception even if it means having sexual intercourse.

"I have been working on helping infertile couples and have accumulated some experience. Many clients come to me because they could not get sperm from the sperm bank," he told Global Times, noting that donors are normally paid 5,000 yuan (S$800) for a successful conception.

He said he keeps his sperm in a small vacuum cup and then injects it into the woman's body. He does the injection himself because doctors cannot be involved.

Mr Li Shaohua, 28, the organiser of a group of 60 registered users labelled as free or voluntary sperm donors, said that donors will suggest that intercourse is easier and more successful than artificial injection.

Couples often insist on trying the artificial injection first, but usually resort to sex in the end, he said.

The authorities have warned that the black market has many potential dangers.

Chen Zhenwen, director at the Beijing Human Sperm Bank, said: "Without professional medical experience and tools, it's very hard to keep sperm fresh and sterilise the injector.

"Due to lack of comprehensive checkups, many genetic or sexual diseases could be passed down to the next generation."

Mr Chen said the only way out of this dilemma is to persuade more people to donate, otherwise it is impossible to totally crack down on the sperm black market.

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