NEW DELHI: Faced with shortages, China’s sperm banks are appealing to young Chinese men to donate their sperm, and some of them are willing to offer iPhones and cash rewards of $1,000 in exchange for a few million gametes, reported the New York Times on Tuesday.
The calls for donations have come just months after China removed a policy that, for three decades, had prevented the vast majority of Chinese couples from having more than one child.
Chinese officials acknowledged that the policy – which was abolished in January – had prevented 400 million births in the last 36 odd years. It is also widely thought that the one-child system is responsible for a demographic crisis – according to the UN, 18% of the Chinese population will be 65 years of age of older before 2030.
But there is one section of the demographic that shouldn’t be forgotten: the thousands, perhaps millions, of female lives that were ended before, or just after they had begun during between 1979 and 2016.
To be sure, China is not the only country in the world that struggles with the problem of female infanticide. However, take a moment to consider these numbers: while the sex ratio in China was 108 boys to every 100 girls in the late 1980s, it rose to 124 boys to every 100 girls in the early 2000s, and was as high as 130 to 100 in some provinces, reported The Economist in 2010.
The 1979 policy aimed to check the growth of the Chinese population, and the sanctions for having more than one child included fines, and even forced sterilizations and abortions. As a consequence, many Chinese families who preferred male children killed their daughters. However, the Chinese government did enact laws – including one that outlawed the use of technology to determine the sex of foetuses – to tackle the problem, says the BBC.