Hebei News Network reports: There has been embarrassment over reports of forced monetary and blood donations in the past, but can the most private of things for a man, his sperm, also become a forced donation? Yesterday, a student at the Shijiazhuang People’s Hospital College used his real name online to claim that on April 22nd, 40 of his male classmates were required by the school to donate sperm. According to reports, the school did in fact organize a student group to the Hebei Province Fertility Center, but the hospital denies that students were forced to go, stressing that it was for “samples used by Hebei Province Science & Technology Center research classwork” and not “donations”.
Students feel totally humiliated
“On April 22nd, students in the medicine major at the Shijiazhuang People’s Hospital College were taken to Hebei Province Fertility Hospital to donate sperm. Teachers said, ‘We’re good enough to you. Other classes had to make donations. Now we just require you to go. Whether or not you donate is up to you.'” This weibo post appeared yesterday afternoon and was reposted many times, quickly gaining much attention.
Reporters began searching for the source, contacting the original poster, a student at the Shijiazhuang People’s Hospital College named A Tao (alias).
According to A Tao, on the night of the the 21st, an academic advisor asked class leaders to pass along the message that all students would gather on the afternoon of the 22nd to donate sperm. Since it seemed too private to be true, students thought it was a joke and didn’t pay attention. Students were halfway through classes at 3 PM on the 22nd when the advisor came to the classroom to have the professor end class early. After taking attendance, all the male students were transported by car to the Hebei Province Fertility Center.
“I’m not against donating sperm, but it’s a private thing. Leaving in a big group, in such a high-profile way, and forcing us to participate, left us totally humiliated!” A Tao said that the clearly protested, but the advisor told students that it was a school-wide requirement. Whether or not they donated, they had to go to the center.
“So we just sat in the room for a few minutes then left,” said A Tao.
“You tell me. How could we force them to donate?”
On the afternoon of 24th, reporters contacted a Director at the Hebei Province Human Sperm Repository surname Zhao who confirmed that a group from the college visited the on the afternoon of the 22nd. However, Director Zhao stressed that this was not a “donation”, and instead was a “sample collection” planned by the Hebei Science & Techology Center for a province-wide classwork program. “Blood donations and blood samples aren’t the same thing, and it’s the same with sperm.”
Reporters referenced A Tao’s registration forms and found it to be a “Hebei Provincial University Student Sperm Quality Analytic Inspection & Data Management” volunteer registration form, with an informed consent document attached. It was marked on the form that the organizing unit was the Hebei Province Family Planning Science & Technology Research Institute.
Director Zhao also stressed that sample collection can only be done voluntarily. “Sperm is not like blood, it won’t come out with the stick of a needle. If the volunteers aren’t willing, you tell me, how could we force them to donate?”
Donations can’t be forced, but is it reasonable to organize a group and requiring them to “go along”? According to Director Zhao, that’s the school’s issue.
Reporters called the school to follow up numerous times. At first, the person answering gave unclear answer, and later, nobody answered the phone.
According to another account, of the forty students taken to the sperm bank that day, about ten ended up giving samples. However, students explained that they never received the “rumored health stipends”. As for this, Director Zhao explained that only “transportation stipends” are paid to volunteers, “but since the school organized a bus to transport the students, we didn’t provide the stipends.”
Hebei has a sever sperm shortage
According to local Hebei media reports, there are few people who volunteer to donate sperm in the province because of the influence of traditional views. The province is low compared to others in the country, and there is a shortage of sperm at repositories. Additionally, society has very high standards for sperm.
According to statistics from the organization, nearly five hundred individuals had volunteered to donate sperm and participate in a survey, but less than one hundred of those individuals ended up qualified. More than 80% of those signing up were under 30 years old, with nearly 60% college students. At the same time, there were 500 couples who needed sperm donations. Due to the severe shortage of sperm, these couples would have to wait half a year to one year, with some waiting over two years. The organization has run numerous “encourage sperm donation, end sperm shortage” campaigns.
Original publication date: 4/25/2013