Stringent checks at sperm bank

Genetic and psychological screenings conducted on would-be donors.

The nation’s first sperm bank using genetic and psychological checks on donors started trial operation in Shanghai yesterday.

This is the second sperm bank in the city. The first was established at Renji Hospital in 2003.

Other sperm banks in China conduct genetic analysis based on chromosome screening, but the newly opened Human Sperm Bank at Fudan University conducts more detailed genetic screening to identify mutated genes which may lead to miscarriage, congenital disease or deformity.

“We will screen ... to evaluate sperm quality in order to prevent genetic mutations related with serious hereditary diseases,” said Zhang Feng, head of the sperm bank, which is located at the Gynecology and Obstetrics Hospital of Fudan University.

The bank also conducts psychological and mental evaluations of donors. The processes include face-to-face screenings with psychologists.

“Those with identified mental diseases and disorders won’t be qualified for sperm donation,” said Dr Wang Xiao, a psychologist at the bank.

According to the World Health Organization, about one in eight couples suffers from infertility.

“Sperm issues are the most common cause of male infertility and many couples have to go to a sperm bank for a donation,” said Dr Xu Congjian, president of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Hospital. “All sperm banks have a long waiting list, due to the large number of couples seeking donations and a limited amount of donors.”

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