The Chinese Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Wednesday the approval of ten medical institutions providing assisted reproductive technology (ART) services, and among which two hospitals have been approved to establish sperm banks.
The demand for ART services has become enormous in China, as about 10 percent of Chinese couples of childbearing age are estimated to suffer from infertility, according to the MOH.
Experts estimate that about one million Chinese couples want to try ART services, and the figure is likely to rise in the future due to environmental pollution and the changes in modern lifestyle.
The MOH has tightened administration on such medical institutions since August 2001. At the end of 2001, six hospitals were approved for the first time to provide ART services or set up sperm banks.
An MOH official said strict administration has effectively ensured the quality of this type of medial treatment and greatly lowed the rate of multiple or double births.
It has also helped avoid the negative effects and potential dangers that the treatment might bring to society and people's health, said the official.
(Xinhua News Agency April 2, 2003)