Lab-grown sperms could cure infertility

Scientists using embryonic stem cells have created human sperm in the laboratory for the first time. The breakthrough in stem cell science offers a potential cure for male infertility. This invention raises the possibility of babies being born entirely through artificial means. Biologist Karim Nayernia created a cocktail of chemicals & vitamins that turned human stem cells into sperm.

Viewed through a microscope, they have heads & tails & swim like normal sperm, Professor Nayernia is convinced, they would be capable of fertilizing eggs & creating babies. This understanding could help them to develop new ways to help couples suffering infertility so they can have a child which is genetically their own.

The stem cells used were taken from embryos in the first days of life but the professor hopes to repeat his success with skin cells taken from a man's arm. These would first be exposed to a mixture that wound back their biological clocks to embryonic stem cell state, before being transformed into sperm. Using IVF techniques, the artificial sperm could be injected into eggs, allowing men who do not produce sperm to father children of their own.

Biologist Karim Nayernia said , “It will also allow scientists to study how cells involved in reproduction are affected by toxins, for example, why young boys with leukaemia who undergo chemotherapy can become infertile for life & possibly lead us to a solution. This is an important development as it will allow researchers to study in detail how sperm forms and lead to a better understanding of infertility in men, why it happens & what is causing it.”

Lab-grown sperm could also shed light on the causes of infertility. Identification of a flaw in the sperm-making process could lead to the creation of a miracle pill to boost fertility. In future, it may be possible to create eggs from a woman's stem cells, raising the possibility of artificial eggs & sperm being combined to create children through entirely artificial means. The process of forming sperm could lead to a better understanding of how genetic diseases are passed on.


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