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Turning Stem Cells Into Sperm

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 16 Oct 2018 | 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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[Add a Comment]
I am 77 yrs. old. I don't mind to go for any research, which can create miracle changes in human life. Any change in life shall be Human science goal. I do have interest to learn and participate in stem cell treatments.
None - 16-Oct-18 @ 2:57 AM
I am a woman, 47+ 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 that can help me to have ferility or reproducation of egg? I would like to have children of my own as egg donors are very expensive. Please advise if this is availble in South Africa Thanks - Kholo
Kholo - 19-Jun-18 @ 11:20 AM
My husband was diagnosed with SCOS after a testicular mapping procedure. Would this be an option for him? And when would this become an option?
Sjs - 27-Apr-18 @ 2:49 PM
Hi, I have azoospermia, SCO (sertoli cell only) . I had a vericocele surgery followed by a TESE surgery. Both resulted in no sperm. Please help
Ante - 19-Mar-18 @ 2:49 PM
My husband was born without a sperm cell is there any way possible of stem cell treatment helping?
Es11 - 25-Jan-18 @ 8:46 PM
I had acute testicular torsion of both testes. But when I press the scrotum I feel small folding that is sessional. can that be used to develop sperms? or Any other help
BigSmalls - 21-Dec-17 @ 5:41 PM
I am a 52 Year Old Man and I was Born in 1965 with Undecended Testicles and My Parents did not do anything about this Condition until I was nearly Nine years Old at a Hospital in 1974. Because the Testicles Operation had not been Done this Stunted and very Badly Damaged them so they did not Grow or Develop.I Developed Normally with Puberty. I lost My Wife in early 2016 after nearly 20 Years of Marriage and this has completely Devastated Me and I would like to Meet Sombody else who is Younger than me and I would like to have a Family if that was possible,but because of My very small Testicles I have been Informed that I have Testicular failure.I do make a small amount of Testosterone in the Testicles and I do not know about Sperm, Semen. I did not do anything about this Condition because I had No Confidence and My Upbringing,plus I simply did not know. I would like to know with the New Technology available is there any chance with RegeneratSunion with Stem Cells. Live in Hope. Regards Richard
Big Bear - 5-Dec-17 @ 10:03 PM
36 years low sperm count.have only one testis by birth.can I become father if treated
jail - 12-Sep-17 @ 6:03 AM
Hi is there any trial treatment for this sperm from stem cells then I would like to give a try.please let me know the place nsme.My husband has an azoospermia and I want him to become a biological father.
PKS - 12-Aug-17 @ 9:13 PM
Hi, I was wondering would this make it possible for same sex couples to have a biological child?
Rebecca - 13-Jul-17 @ 11:07 PM
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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
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