Ever since last month's China International Medical Equipment Fair in Shenzhen, China, a curious video (above) has been spreading across the blogosphere. The gadget in question is apparently an automatic sperm collector, an all-in-one machine into which men can donate sperm (hands-free). The video treats the entire subject in a rather ridiculous manner, raising two questions: How does this gadget actually work? And does anyone actually use them?
Today, there are in fact several companies selling automatic sperm collectors on the internet (here, here, and here, for example). Your average sperm-collecting gadget consists of a kiosk with a monitor that provides stimulating visuals (!), complimented by sounds (!!). A little lower is a "semen-collection sheath," which purportedly simulates the feel and movement of a vagina.On top of visual stimuli, another company says that their gadget uses "infrared heating to simulate the temperature of female vagina [sic]," which consists of two inflatable tire-like structures. Once enveloping a penis, the sheath continues vibrating until the man, er... successfully donates his sperm.
The robotic sperm collector apparently has a "high success rate of 95%." (I'll leave it at that.) And it's touted as "safe" because the man actually deposits his donation into a condom-like pocket, which a sperm-bank worker can then collect. Using a condom will certainly decrease the likelihood of catching STDs, but still, you have to question whether sticking your member into a machine used by countless other men is really that sanitary.
But wait---there's more! When you buy the automatic sperm-collecting machine, it also comes with a surprise bonus feature: a "premature ejaculation desensitization training function." Men apparently undertake a training regimen in which the gadget repeatedly rubs various parts of the penis in order to decrease its nerve sensitivity. According to a company website, the ultimate goal of this training is to "improve ejaculatory threshold."
Kevin Qiao, a representative of the Jiahua Electronic Instrument Co. in China---one of the companies that sells automatic semen collectors---told me via email that "we have sold more than 600 [units] in the last 3 years" to Chinese sperm banks, urological departments, and birth control centers. It's apparently becoming "more and more popular in China's sperm banks." Something tells me that with the scares about China-made products in recent years, American men won't be too keen to stick their manhood in anything that says "Made in China." Plus, at $3,000 USD a pop, why fork over major cash for some fancy machine, when sperm donors are doing just fine with the ol' magazine-and-cup?