The Henan Provincial Human Sperm Bank has offered cash payments of up to 5,000 yuan ($817) for donors, according to a notice on its Sina Weibo on Sunday, though the entire process takes around eight months.
Demand is high due to an increasing number of people with fertility problems coupled with limited stocks of sperm, the head of the sperm bank told the Global Times on Monday.
The 5,000 yuan subsidy pays for things like losing income and appropriate nutrition, according to Li Yushan, the director of the bank.
At the very beginning of the donation process, donors are given 50 yuan for each donation. After they donate three or four times, qualified donors are given 200 yuan for each donation.
They also need to undergo tests for Hepatitis B and syphilis. A successful volunteer needs to donate sperm 10 or 15 times, Li said.
Around six months after the donations, donors need to take an HIV examination and will receive a final payment of 1,500 yuan. The total payments amount to 5,000 yuan, Li said.
The candidates should be aged between 22 and 45, be healthy and have no genetic diseases. They should be at least 1.7 meters tall and have a diploma in technical secondary school or above. Li said that while the diplomas do not relate directly to the quality of a donor's genes, clients insisted upon the requirement.
After the notice was issued there were around 50 donations a day, twice the amount during the summer holidays. The total number of donors stood at around 1,200 between January and September, Li said.
"About 90 percent of the donors are college students. They are young, energetic and find it easy to accept new things. And most of them have no bad lifestyle habits and no sex lives, and their time is flexible," Li said.
Some donated sperm are provided to reproductive centers to be used in assisted reproductive technology while some are used in medical research and some are frozen for donors for up to 30 years, in case they become infertile.
Across the country, many of the 16 banks urgently require donated sperm due to increasing numbers of infertile people.
Although medical technology has advanced, the quality of sperm has declined in recent years to some degree, Li said, adding that this is due to a number of factors including pollution, working pressure and unhealthy living habits.
Statistics published by Lei Fang, former head of the second affiliated hospital of Zhengzhou University in Henan Province, show that there were about 40 million people with fertility problems in China among those aged between 20 and 40 in the past 20 years, the Dahe Daily reported.