College students in their large numbers have now become sperm donors in a south China province because of an increase in payment, a media report said Monday.
The sperm bank in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, has said over 95 percent of its donors were college students, whose donations were helping to ease the shortage that was troubling infertile couples in the past few years, the China Daily reported.
However, according to the ministry of health, only healthy men between the ages of 22 and 45 can donate sperm once in their lifetime, while gays and foreign nationals are not permitted.
Men must visit a sperm bank thrice for tests and undergo blood screening if their sample makes the grade. Then they have to return about 10 times to donate.
A donor can receive as much as 3,000 yuan ($450) in payment if he finishes the process, sperm bank officials said.
"It doesn't mean that they are selling sperm. We are providing meals and transport fees and compensation for loss of working time," Tang Lixin, director of the Guangdong sperm bank, was quoted as saying.
The bank, one of the 10 in the country, received over 900 donors last year.
"Some students donate sperm for the increased subsidies, but most regard the donation as an act of charity to help those needing artificial insemination," Tang said.
Three years ago, around 80 percent of infertile couples failed to find sperm donors due to the limited supply. In China, about 10 percent of couples are infertile.