China's Black Market for Sperm Is as Creepy as It Sounds

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Some entrepreneurial gentlemen are generously offering to help couples cope with a sperm-donor shortage in China, according to the Global Times, by having sex with the wives. These volunteer sperm donors advertise their services on the Internet and want to help clients so much that they'll do it "whether [clients are] ugly or pretty." What does appearance have to do with it? Well, since these black-market donors lack the medical equipment to inject the sperm effectively, intercourse is the best way to conceive. 

Li Shaohua, 28, the organizer of a QQ group [an instant messaging service] including 60 registered users labeled 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 injection anyway, but in the end, they usually resort to sex. Although the donors say they will do it for free, they are often paid in the end. ...

"To increase the rate of success I recommend couples choose sexual intercourse. It's the safest and easiest way to donate," Li said. "Many of us won't go to the sperm bank to help because it takes a long time, up to five months, due to complicated sperm quality checks," Li said.

Ling Lin, a 30-year-old stock investor, told Global Times that when she joined the group looking for donors, three people chatted her immediately offering their sperm. She gave up. "It felt like I was looking at pimps selling themselves," she said.

Obviously, there are problems with not regulating this sort of thing. Like disease. One "professional black-market sperm donor" named Huang promised client Yu Hua and her husband that his sperm was absolutely genetically sound and disease-free, but really all Yu Hua has to go on his Huang's word. Plus, at regulated sperm banks, one donor's sperm can only go to five women so that people don't accidentally inbreed. Huang can spread his seed as many times as he wants. And the ultimate paycheck donors end up receiving is around 5,000 yuan, or $800.

But the donors say it's all about their pure generosity of spirit: "I know how eagerly those mothers want a child," Huang told Global Times, "so I would like to help them."

Photo of sperm art by SanFranAnnie via Flickr

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.