Grounded by the pandemic and bored? If you’re a young man in China and have time on your hands, a Chinese sperm bank may have just the right summer program for you.
The Human Sperm Bank of Shanghai is inviting college students to join a competition to see who has the best semen, in order to promote reproductive health and recruit donors, who are offered up to $1,160 for replenishing the bank’s supply.
The summer contest, launched on July 12, will pick those who have the highest sperm count and motility as winners, although their names will not be released to the public, the sperm bank said in an ad posted on WeChat.
Chinese sperm banks have in recent years reported a general decrease in sperm quality, according to state media reports. Facing growing demand for fertility treatment, some sperm banks have sought to encourage donations by paying men more and campaigned to reduce the stigma of visiting a sperm bank.
Chen Xiangfeng, a doctor at Shanghai’s Renji Hospital in charge of the sperm bank, told local news outlet Thepaper.cn that the contest was aimed at reminding university students to take care of their reproductive health at an early age.
Participants who meet stringent requirements, including having a sperm concentration of greater than 60 million per milliliter of semen, will be invited to be a donor.
Donors need to visit the sperm bank several times within six months, and will receive up to 7,500 yuan ($1,160) in subsidies.
The Shanghai sperm bank declined an interview request from VICE World News, saying it only speaks to official media in China.
To drum up interest in donations and its fertility services, the sperm bank has been posting about the best sperm it receives every month. In June, for example, it recorded a highest sperm count of 282 million sperm per milliliter of semen—about 19 times the normal level. The unnamed donor was a sports fan, the sperm bank noted.
Another man, who was said to be fond of music, was found to have the lowest level of abnormal sperm of 42 percent. Typically, only about 4 to 10 percent of sperm in a sample are normal, meaning their shape looks perfect under a microscope.
But sperm count isn’t the only measure of health. June’s winner across all categories was someone who had a sperm concentration of 208 million sperm per milliliter of semen and a motility of 76 percent, more than twice as high as the normal level, the sperm bank said. It noted that the man liked literature.
In order to join the contest, the students need to be above 165 centimeters tall and have myopia of less than 5.0 in diopters. Those with a history of genetic diseases or sexually transmitted diseases are also banned from participating.
Donors who visit the sperm bank this month will also receive a ring with the sperm bank’s logo engraved on it as a souvenir, the sperm bank said.
Follow Viola Zhou on Twitter.