I came across an article published in Healthy Living which stated that Dr. Mitinori Saitou, of Kyoto University in Japan, and his research team have made a major breakthrough in solving male infertility issues by growing sperm cells from stem cells in a lab.
Following was the procedure for the study
- The researchers first transformed mouse embryonic stem cells into cells that originate sperms, also known as germ cells
- The germ cells were then transferred into the testes of sterile mice
- The mice started to produce normal looking sperms from germ cells which were functional as well
- The sperms produced were able to fertilize mice egg cells from which 214 mouse embryos were created
- Then the embryos were implanted into female mice, which bred 65 healthy mouse pups
- Those pups went on grow up and were fully fertile
Saitou told Reuters, that they have enough data to further continue their study into cause of infertility in humans. If germ cells can be created from stem cells in mice, then the same procedure can be followed for doing the same in humans, he also added.
According to Mayo clinic, infertility effects 15% of the couples, and half of those cases are of male infertility.
The common treatments for infertility, depending upon the cause are
- Surgical methods
- Treatment of infections which might have caused the infertility
- Treatment of sexual problems like erectile dysfunction
- Other treatments like hormone medications
- Assisted reproductive technology like in vitro fertilization etc.
An earlier study by Yokohama University also successfully created functioning mouse sperm cells from stem cells, but the researchers used testicular stem cells to grow the sperms.
In this new study by Saitou and his team the sperms were able to fertilize the eggs of female mice successfully, and the sperm cells were created from embryonic stem cell.
Back in 2009, British scientists also claimed to have made human sperm cells from stem cells but their claim was challenged by other experts who said that sperms they had created were abnormal, MSNBC reported.
While still early, the research could be promising for men who struggle with fertility, Saitou said.
This study was published in the Journal Cell.
Some clinical trials investigating new treatments for infertility are listed below
- RCT of Fixed vs Titrated Letrozole in Breast Cancer Patient Undergoing IVF
- Aromatase Inhibitors in the Treatment of Male Infertility
- Pulsatile GnRH in Anovulatory Infertility
- Couples Therapy to Enhance Intimacy Between Patients With Advanced or Recurrent Prostate Cancer and Their Partners