Beijing sperm bank donors must be party loyalists

BEIJING • One of the largest sperm banks in Beijing has set loyalty to the Communist Party as a prerequisite for donors, in a sign that China's increasing emphasis on ideological training is being extended to the womb.

The bizarre requirement was part of a sperm donation drive launched on Wednesday by Peking University Third Hospital - a public hospital affiliated to an elite university considered to be China's Harvard.

As well as being free of genetic or infectious diseases, potential donors must have "sound ideological qualities", according to a notice posted on the hospital's official account on the popular WeChat messaging app.

Men between the ages of 20 and 45 who wish to donate semen must "love the socialist motherland, support the leadership of the Communist Party, be loyal to the party's cause and be decent, law-abiding citizens, free of political problems", according to the statement that was deleted from the social media channel yesterday evening.

Those who successfully donate after undergoing two rounds of medical checks - to assess the quality of their semen and general fitness - will be paid 5,500 yuan (S$1,150), the statement said.

There were no details on how the hospital would verify whether donors satisfied the political requirements. Calls to the hospital went unanswered.

  • $1,150  

    Sum paid to those who successfully donate sperm after undergoing two rounds of medical checks.

China has only 23 sperm banks nationwide, according to the country's National Health Commission, and many are plagued by a severe shortage of donors. Requirements for donors at other major collection centres in Beijing and Shanghai do not include loyalty to the party.

The controversial drive, which runs till late next month, has inspired tongue-in-cheek comments by Chinese Internet users."Maybe they haven't learnt biology. Acquired traits can't be passed down," wrote one user on microblogging service Weibo.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2018, with the headline 'Beijing sperm bank donors must be party loyalists'. Print Edition | Subscribe