Monday, 16 April 2012

New research makes it possible: Couples now need not borrow semen from sperm banks in case of male infertility

By Syed Akbar
Couples with male infertility need no longer go in for sperm borrowing from 
strangers to bear children. Thanks to a pioneering research by a team of 
Hyderabad-based doctors on invitro culture of testicular tissue using stem 
cell culture techniques, infertile men without any sperm production can now 
reproduce offspring. Such couples now need not borrow semen from sperm 
banks.
This new technique has come in as a major hope to childless couples who 
want to have their "own" babies. There is no need for surrogate mother also if 
there is no reproductive problem in the woman.
Fertility doctors at Mahavir Hospital and Research Centre and Owaisi 
Hospital and Research Centre have succeeded thus far in artificial culture of 
testicular tissue in infertile men with non-obstructive Azoospermia (nil sperm 
count). The research work, which started two years ago, is in now in clinical 
trials.
"We will be able to fertilise ovum with the sperm obtained through stem cells 
in a couple of months," Dr Roya Rozati, who is supervising the research, 
said.
Doctors in South Korea are doing a similar research but using human 
embryonic stem cells and since research on human embryos is banned in 
India, the Mahavir-Owaisi team has taken up work on testicular tissue. A 
team of researchers in the USA have successfully carried out stem cell 
research using testicular tissue of mice. It is yet to be experimented on human 
beings there.
The Hyderabadi doctors have selected 10 infertile men for the research to 
develop sperm from spermatogonial stem cells, which can be used to fertilise 
eggs and enable infertile men to overcome infertility problems. They also 
wants to establish culture methods to expand cell lines of spermatogonial 
stem cells.
"After producing sperm we will go for intra cytoplasmic sperm induction 
process to help infertile men bear children," Dr Roya pointed out. This 
methodology besides opening new avenues of basic research into 
spermatogenesis and stem cell self-renewal may also prove as a useful tool 
for biomedical science and biotechnology.
Sperm stem cells could be removed from a donor, cultured to increase their 
numbers, frozen, and then re-implanted back into the donor (or another male) 
at a future date. These sperm stem cells have the "potential" of serving as a 
source for more versatile adult stem cells to replace diseased or injured 
tissue.
There is a threshold of quantitative sperm production in the deficient testis, 
below which no sperm will reach the ejaculate (azoospermia). This threshold 
phenomenon of spermatogenesis is the reason that many cases of non-
obstructive azoospermia sperm can often be extracted from testicular tissue 
of azoospermic men with germinal failure, and used successfully for ICSI.
Men with non-obstructive azoospermia caused by germinal failure have a 
mean of 0 to 3 mature spermatids per seminiferous tubule seen on a 
diagnostic testicle biopsy. This compared to 17 to 35 mature spermatids per 
tubule in men with normal spermatogenesis and obstructive azoospermia.
Male infertility has been on the increase, of late, world over. This is 
attributed to increasing levels of environment pollution and passing of 
infertility from mothers to their male children. This new technique is all set to 
bring about a sea change in the lives of infertile couples, at least those 
suffering from azoospermia.

1 comment:

Jenny Lantz said...

This could be a major break through as most people don't realize that male infertility is about equal in percentage to female infertility, it just seems that men are a LOT more reluctant to talk about. I don't understand a 'Mother' passing infertility to a 'Male' child but learn something new everyday!

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