Single Chinese women seek donor sperm from abroad
Despite China's law restricting sperm donations to married women only, single women, in particular those successful in business, are increasingly enthusiastic to bring home a baby by spending generously on sperm banks in the developed world.
As a result of loosening policies in Beijing, where births out of wedlock are now allowed official registration, this increase in demand has been observed in highly-educated women who make substantial salaries and are nearing middle age.
Inspired by the work of British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who wrote "The Selfish Gene," a 38-year-old single Chinese white-collar employee, pseudonym Pearl, says she believes in the eternal life of genes.
"I want to pass down my genes to future generation. If I can have a child, my DNA won't die out with the death of my body," she said.
In 2017, the number of singles at marriageable age in China hit 200 million, almost equal to the populations of Russia and Britain combined.
According to Hou Kun, a representative of a U.S. assisted reproduction agency in Beijing, single women account for 10 percent of their customers who spend 500,000 yuan (US$74,668) or more to deliver a test-tube baby using sperm purchased from the United States. Because of the lavish expenditure, only high-income earners can afford the service.
"This particular group of customers usually work as high-level executives in financial or IT sectors, and are independent and open," Hou added.
Zhang Wei (alias), a chief financial officer from a technology company, is one of them.
Before paying for donor sperm, Zhang made a spreadsheet listing the educational background, appearance, job, hobbies and nationality of each of more than 10 donators, then she asked family members and close friends to vote for the best one.
However, taking control of the reproduction process is just part of the story. Lower fertility rates among women over 35 can cause the so-called "biological clocks" of single women above that age to go into alarm mode, leading them to use any means necessary to become pregnant.
When Pearl reached 36 years old, her anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) level, an index detecting women's reproductive capability, dropped from 3.72 to 1.3 within one year.
"I can't be sure if I'll still be able to carry a baby after a few more years. But I'm afraid that I may spend the rest of my life regretting it if I don't have one," Pearl said.
According to Hou, his particular customers do not desire a baby for the reason that they may need someone to look after them in old age, a traditional mindset that has defined Chinese families for thousands of years. "What they need is simply spiritual comfort," he said.
Pearl said her mother used to tell her there is no difference between dying alone or with hordes of people looking on.
But to conceive using overseas sperm donations also seems lunatic to many in China.
Tian Xin is a high-ranking regional manager. When she was 30 years old, she consulted her family on whether she could petition for overseas sperm donations. This enraged her father, who strongly opposed the idea.
"My daughter is outstanding. Why on earth can't she just end her single life? Not to mention, how could she humble herself to receive donated sperm?" her father protested.
"To be honest, I'm in contact with business elites on a daily basis, but I'm getting bored with most of them. Occasionally, I meet some men I appreciate, only to find they're already married. So what can I do?" Tian said.
In the ensuing three years, Tian continued to coax her parents, and eventually invited her friend working for the assisted reproduction agency to come show the old couple a video about how and why single women can also have babies. At last, she won.
But despite the consensus reached in her family, challenges remain. According to Xinhua News Agency, a donor from Georgia state (U.S.), who called himself a successful man, and donated his sperm 36 times, was found to have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, dropped out of university, and convicted of criminal theft.
According to Pearl, however, the probability of that occurring is as low as the chance of, say, meeting the wrong person. "It took quite a while before I realized my ex-boyfriend was color blind," Pearl said, indicating that these traits can present problems to women who are searching for real-life partners as well.
In early February, Pearl gave birth to a baby girl at a hospital in California, U.S. As she took her first look at her daughter's scrunched face, she said gently, "Hey, I'm your mom."
(Source_title：Single Chinese women seek donor sperm from abroad)