Elite single Chinese women seek donor sperm abroad
Published: Feb 25, 2019 06:49 PM

Two workers store sperm in a liquid nitrogen tank kept at below -196 C in a sperm bank in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. Photo: CFP

Before choosing a father for her baby, Zhang Wei (pseudonym), a CFO from a tech company, made an Excel sheet detailing the appearance, career, education background, hobbies and ethnicity of a dozen sperm donors, and asked her friends and relatives to give a vote. 

Zhang was one of a growing number of affluent single Chinese women who seek donated sperm from overseas reproduction agencies as Chinese law does not allow any artificial reproduction assistance to single women.  

Single women accounted for about 10 percent of all clients coming to the Beijing office of a US assisted-reproduction company, whose name was not disclosed, Hou Kun, the office manager was quoted as saying in a The Beijing News report on Monday. 

"Most of the women receive ample salary and are open-minded senior managers from the finance or Internet industry," Hou said. 

He noted that, to these women, spending  money to get a baby is to meet emotional needs rather than to have someone to take care of them when they are old.  

It costs at least $29,000 to buy sperm and do in vitro fertilization in the US, excluding food, housing and transportation, a member of the customer service staff of Mengmei, a Beijing-based reproductive technology company, told the Global Times reporter, who posed as a customer. 

"If you only want to buy sperm, the price is $700 to $800 per tube, which is usually enough for one or two pregnancies, and another $2,000 for freight," said the staff.

Xiaogunzhu (pseudonym), 38, a single senior white-collar woman in the Internet industry, decided to buy sperm after physical examinations showed that the value of Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), which reflects the remaining number of eggs in a woman's ovaries, had dropped to a dangerously low level at the end of 2017, The Beijing News reported.

"I am not sure if I will still be able to get pregnant in a few years. I will regret if I do not do it now," she told The Beijing News. 

She said that she tried to get a boyfriend but ended up with none as she was "not willing to sacrifice for men," the kind of women Chinese men favor.  

Single Chinese women like Xiaogunzhu have to overcome many obstacles when seeking a baby on their own, including opposition from their parents and stereotypes from Chinese society. 

Some of the overseas sperm banks are not entirely safe. Media reported in 2016 that parents of donor-conceived children sued a US sperm bank, Georgia-based Xytex Corp, after it was discovered that one of the bank's donors was in fact a convicted criminal and schizophrenic. 

"There are people everywhere who hide their medical conditions from their spouses. One of my ex-boyfriends hid his color blindness from me for many years," she said.

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