making babies in China

FT Shanghai correspondent Patti Waldmeir has written yet another, superb column on social policy in mainland China.

Authoritarian governments can achieve many things by decree, but making babies is not one of them. It seems China has a shortage of that essential biological ingredient to power the next phase of the mainland economic miracle: sperm to fertilise the embryos of future workers.

There is a sex shortage, too: one recent survey showed that Chinese white collar workers slave so long in the office that half said they had intercourse less than once a month. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that a large proportion of 20-somethings still live with their mother (and for that matter, their grandmothers) in cramped urban flats. Surely that’s better than the best contraceptive. ….

Good quality sperm are in such short supply that one Shanghai hospital recently ran an advertisement on social media offering enough money to buy the latest iPhone in exchange for 17ml of the stuff …. “It’s no longer popular to sell your kidney for an iPhone, but now you can easily get one without selling your kidney,” said an ad posted on the official WeChat account of the Shanghai Renji Hospital Sperm Bank ….

Patti Waldmeir, “Wanted: more people to make babies in China“,  Financial Times, 24 November 2015 (metered paywall).

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