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Turning Stem Cells Into Sperm

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 12 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Stem Cells Infertility Sperm Egg Study

There are many different reasons to find ways to create sperm from stem cells – one of these is to help infertile couples have children. It's an enormous field of work and thus far, it's looking as though stem cells may end up providing one answer to this problem.

New Stem Cell Research

Researchers in the US were able to essentially 'reprogram' adult stem cells into sperm and egg cells. Infertility affects a huge number of people around the world, which results from disease, injury or age-related conditions.

Scientists believe they will eventually be able to reprogram virtually any cell – such as a skin cell – into a cell that is similar to an embryonic stem cell. Like these embryonic stem cells, the reprogrammed cells are able to differentiate into any kind of cell in the body.

By coaxing the cells into precursors for germ lines, the cells can then grow to be an egg or sperm cell. Problems still abound though because ensuring that the cells are of high enough quality is a challenge for researchers. This is unfortunate in particular because it could mean that actual viable stem cell treatments for infertility are still many years away now.

While the cells are still germ lines ones – similar to those from embryonic stem cells – researchers also found that there were certain important functions that were not done correctly as they should be in embryonic stem cells. Again, it means that more research is needed to ensure that the procedure would be safe and effective.

Controversial Embryonic Stem Cells

While embryonic stem cells remain highly controversial, scientists have stressed that their use remains paramount to developing treatments for infertility. These stem cells are derived from discarded embryos in procedures such as in vitro fertilisation. They would normally be discarded and rendered useless but stem cell research allows them to be put forth as a means for improving healthcare.

Regulating Genes

One of the key things that a germ cell must do after it forms is to go through a number of processes such as regulating genes. If the cell is to function properly, it's necessary for the gene regulation to occur as it should.

If it doesn't, then the sperm that results won't likely work as it should as well. If you consider that the aim is to create a healthy baby who will grow into a healthy adult, it's quite a worrying prospect and consequence that the sperm may not be functioning adequately.

Finding Out More

Researchers plan to find out exactly why the new cells don't regulate genes exactly as they should. Once they can tackle this challenge, it's hoped that treatments for infertility may follow suit.

Not only that, but the germ lines have a high failure rate as well in terms of their creation from embryonic stem cells. Only around ten percent of embryonic stem cells will actually continue on to germ cells.

Infertility Treatments of the Future

If these challenges are eventually overcome though, it can mean that a man who has a low sperm count is able to have a greater amount of his sperm created to potentially fertilise a woman's egg. Researchers remain committed to finding ways to make this kind of treatment a reality but for now, other procedures will remain options for infertility.

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ericaglover - 12-Mar-17 @ 4:02 PM
Hi iam azospemia pasaint is that curable or not
Gogi - 23-Dec-16 @ 12:27 PM
Hi Do you know where in the world that this can be done. When two woman can produce a baby ?
Vb - 23-Nov-16 @ 9:32 PM
@giada - I don't think there is anything out there that offers stem cells for menopausal fertility. One day perhaps, but not now :(
PatsyT - 7-Nov-16 @ 2:49 PM
i am a women with 49-50 year old, No menstruation now,has menopause for almost one year, I hope to know if this stem cell of skin cells or any way thatcan help me to have ferility or reproducation of egg? with the best wishes giada
giada - 5-Nov-16 @ 11:38 AM
Hi I am 24 years old.I am patient of azospermia.I have only one testis before marriage but after marriage I go for treatment.Blockage of tube, biopsy result shows spermogenic maturation arrest and semen analysis show zero sperm count.Over all harmoons and all related tests are fine.so kindly reply me it is possible that with the treatment of stem cell azospermia. I become a father of child?
musi - 3-Sep-16 @ 4:56 PM
Hi I have low sperm count about 10/ml so is strm cell treatment able to produce normal sperm count if i go with stem cell treatment.
Ks88 - 24-Jul-16 @ 9:03 AM
I was just curious if a female stem cell could be used to produce a sperm in this process?
Emily - 22-Apr-16 @ 4:14 AM
Bips - Your Question:
Hi, I was suffering from wegeners. Had ENDOXAN resulting in azospermia. I am fine with no relapses. Stopped having endoxan 3 years ago. Still not recovered from azospermia. Is there any solution ?Plz advice.

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot advise on medical matters, you would have to see your GP regarding this.
ExploreStemCells - 16-Feb-16 @ 12:48 PM
Hi, I was sufferingfrom wegeners . Had ENDOXANresulting in azospermia.I am fine with no relapses. Stopped having endoxan 3 years ago. Still not recovered from azospermia. Is there any solution? Plz advice.
Bips - 16-Feb-16 @ 4:35 AM
Family doctor says I m affected azoospermia please told me how success and I become a father of my child
nana - 14-Feb-16 @ 2:11 PM
i think I'll grow old and die before you guys launch this. Why don't they work hard and bring it to the patients quickly than to make people wait , grow old and loose the ability to have children. Even Kallistem Technologies is the same, they don't want to launch it. Azoospermia is killing many couples by hiving them mental torture and when you scientist come up with a solution, it takes decade and decade before can bring it to the heal are center.
Zeze - 6-Feb-16 @ 3:13 PM
Hi, I have been getting fertility treatment for 10 years. semen showed no sperm. Testicular biopsy showed stages of sperm production, up to spermatids. Started taking Clomid, found 1 or 2 imotile sperm in samples, stopped course found 1 motile sperm in sample. Had Testicular microdissection procedure, where 15 seminferous tubles were removed, but no trace of sperm production at any stage was found! Stem cell work is still 50 to 100 years away from being available openly as a treatment option!
Mo - 10-Dec-15 @ 3:15 PM
Natalia - Your Question:
Hello, my greetings from Greece. When you say that ' It will be a long while before this method of treatment will be clinically available ' , you mean for example in two years time? in five years?? in 10 years? Can you at least tell us approximately the longer it will take to be implemented, according to your personal view.? Sorry for my english, I ?now they are poor. !!

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot specify, as it depends on how successful the tests and trials are. In addition, I imagine it will be later rather than sooner as the re-creation of sperm will require other medical and ethical issues to be resolved before treatment can be passed.
ExploreStemCells - 9-Nov-15 @ 2:42 PM
Hello, my greetings from Greece. When you say that' It will be a long while before this method of treatment will be clinically available ' , you mean for example in two years time? in five years?? in 10 years? Can you at least tell us approximatelythe longer it will take to be implemented, according to your personal view ...? Sorry for my english, i ?now they are poor... !!
Natalia - 8-Nov-15 @ 2:15 PM
Can you please keep us updated of any further news about this treatment?And if this treatment has been applied in any country in the world or not yet? ... thanks
Nada - 14-Oct-15 @ 2:52 PM
Zizi - Your Question:
Hi. My husband is 37 yr old. I am 34 yr old. He had azoospermia. He do TESE. Which is show no sperm in testis. Our doctor advise him stem cell treatment in the future. And this treatment still not available. I want to ask when treatment become available ? Because I am afraid from my age Thanks

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot predict when treatment will become available, as it is still very much in the research stage of development.
ExploreStemCells - 9-Oct-15 @ 1:56 PM
Hi .. My husband is 37 yr old .. I am 34 yr old .. He had azoospermia .. He do TESE .. Which is show no sperm in testis ... Our doctor advise himstem cell treatment in the future .. And this treatment still not available .. I want to ask when treatment become available ? Because I am afraid from my age Thanks
Zizi - 8-Oct-15 @ 9:13 PM
Sukh - Your Question:
Hi I want to know when it will be possible. Pls let us knowe

Our Response:
It will be a long while before this method of treatment will be clinically available. But it will make such a difference to many men's lives when it is.
ExploreStemCells - 8-Oct-15 @ 2:53 PM
Hi I want to know when it will be possible . Pls let us knowe
Sukh - 8-Oct-15 @ 10:09 AM
I would also be extremely interested in knowing when this research is proven safe to use for infertile couples and which could help my husband (both in our 30') and I with our lifelong dream of becoming mama and papa. Been trying for almost 10 years and have been hoping for a miracle and that my husband would somehow all of a sudden be able to produce sperm. If there is a way in near future, even if it is within 2-3 years that would be the most fantastic news.
Mari - 13-Sep-15 @ 9:42 AM
That's one of the direction for the treatment development of infertility in the future, but it requires a lot of effort. Really hope it be done soon relieving more people from the pain of being childless. -BOC Sciences
Mandy - 10-Sep-15 @ 8:51 AM
priya - Your Question:
Request you to please let me know urgently for sperm formation for skin treatment as my husband has azoospermia and his age is 34 and I am 30 now also am very depressed as already did TESA but no sperms found and I dont want to go for donor sperm,I want my husband to be a bilogical father,Please help me as I just have three to four months time or else forcefully I have to use donor sperm because of family pressure,

Our Response:
I am afraid it is unlikely any revelation in treatment and accessibility of that treatement will take place over the next few months. I can only suggest you look to see if there are any clinical trials taking place, please see the EU Clinical Trials Register via the link here .
ExploreStemCells - 7-Sep-15 @ 12:46 PM
Request you to please let me know urgently for sperm formation for skin treatment as my husband has azoospermia and his age is 34 and I am 30 now also am very depressed as already did TESA but no sperms found and I dont want to go for donor sperm,I want my husband to be a bilogical father,Please help me as I just have three to four months time or else forcefully I have to use donor sperm because of family pressure,
priya - 4-Sep-15 @ 5:55 PM
Is anyone familiar with this tech? Is it possible to be applied into clinical use in the future? I'm in the field of genome sequencing, but still feel interested in learning more about it. I'm Jack from Creative Biolabs.
jack - 17-Aug-15 @ 9:38 AM
That sounds interesting, but I'm afraid we'll have to wait for long before it can be widely applied to clinical use. Olivia Ray Candy Swift
olivia - 17-Aug-15 @ 9:32 AM
I have low sperm count. So pls tell me it can be increase using double stem cells. Pls rply asap
Bala - 16-Aug-15 @ 6:57 AM
hi all, i created a patient guide for azoospermia, it has everything you need to know about treatments, costs, top doctors, and treatments currently in research stage that may be available soon. the website address is ladoctura dot com enjoy.
frankienana - 12-Aug-15 @ 2:09 AM
Hi, This article is great to read, good luck with the research, my partner suffers from Azoospermia - small amounts of sperm found after a TESA although unsuccessful ICSI'S so far : (& we are very keen to see how this progresses, we would be delighted to put ourselves forward for any experiments, is there a way to keep up to date with these developments? Keep up the good work
SD - 11-Aug-15 @ 10:45 PM
Its been long since you say that you doing this research.I mean you spending most of your time in a lab,so do your job guys and you are almost there just put some more effort to it.Do you know how many people are relying on this? Very good people with good morals,people who have placed their lives on hold building their careers,we can't let those brains just go tp waste right? And it also pays just to make someone happy,am I right? So please man get down on it.the world is counting on you guys.
mimi - 3-Jul-15 @ 7:19 AM
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