Vietnam’s sperm banks lack “capital”
VietNamNet Bridge – In Vietnam, around 5-10 percent of infertility cases are caused by problems with men’s sperm count. The need for donors at sperm banks is high, but men are not eager to donate their semen.
A couple in Hanoi’s Gia Lam district has been married for six years, but they have no children yet. Doctors report that the husband is unable to produce sperm, so the couple has turned to in-vitro fertilization. Since the hospital has limited sperm donations, they asked the couple to find a sperm donor in exchange for the service.
Doctor Vu Minh Ngoc from the Hanoi Obstetrics Hospital explained that many couples are unable to find sperm donors and that hospitals face the same trouble. The hospital’s sperm bank is almost empty.
Physicians note that men don’t want to donate sperm because the collecting process and regulations are complicated. Sperm donors in Vietnam must be less than 40 years old and healthy, so physicians must perform many tests to determine that the donors don’t have sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis B, HIV, etc. The donors also have to return to the hospital three months later to complete a second round of tests. After that, if the results are all fine, the hospitals can then collect their semen.
Dr. Ngoc still remembers one man who went to the Hanoi Obstetrics Hospital to donate sperm several years ago. “The first tests were okay. We collected three samples of sperm and made a second appointment for three months later. If the second tests were all good, then the sperm samples could be used. The man never came back,” Ngoc recalled.
People also worry that if they donate, terrible mix-ups may happen, such as their children may get married by coincidence.
Dr. Ngoc observed that sperm donation and use of donations is based on a privacy rule that the donors and the recipients don’t know each other. The donors also give up the right to find out any information about recipients.
Patients who wish to receive donations from sperm banks must seek donors for the hospitals so that the supply remains steady. In return, they can receive sperm from a previous donor.
Hospitals collect three samples of sperm from each donor. If one sample is used and a recipient becomes pregnant, the two other samples will be destroyed.