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Sperm bank denies 'helping hand' rumor
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Shanghai Sperm Bank has been forced to issue a statement on its Website to clarify its procedures, after explicit photos circulated on the Internet, claiming to show female nurses helping men to "donate" at the sperm bank.

Officials from Renji Hospital, where the sperm bank is located, said yesterday they had received several inquiries about their practices after the hoax photos appeared online. They said the hospital's sperm-collecting procedure is in line with professional regulations and that the misleading pictures could tarnish the reputation of the hospital and the sperm bank.

"These pictures are completely misleading," said Li Jin, a hospital official. "We never have female nurses assisting in sperm collection, which is done by the donor himself, alone in a special room. To protect donor's privacy, no one is allowed to take pictures or shoot videos in the sperm bank."

The hospital said it did not plan to track down the sources of these picture and take legal action. The photos probably started as a joke but were taken seriously by a few people after they were widely circulated.

The hospital issues strict rules on its practice and an ethics commission on reproductive health conducts an inspection every year. The hospital authorities said no improper performance had ever occurred at the hospital, and no complaints had ever been received.

"Donating sperm is the same good deed as donating blood," Li said. "Donated sperm can help infertile couples to have children. Both the donor and the medical facility deserve respect. In fact, the sperm bank always has a lack of donors."

Due to unhealthy lifestyles, environmental pollution and increased stress, both the quantity and quality of sperm have dropped by 40 to 50 percent worldwide in the recent 50 years, according to reports.

In Shanghai, about 10 percent of couples suffer infertility, and 10 percent of them must turn to a sperm bank.

Shanghai Sperm Bank was set up five years ago and has helped around 700 women to become pregnant.

(Shanghai Daily November 25, 2008)

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