Infertility affects one in seven men of reproductive age around the globe. One idea is stem cell therapy for the treatment of male infertility.
Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system failing to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. This affects one in six couples. Factors making men infertile include genetics, environmental factors, and functional defects of the patients. After recognizing the high potential of stem cells, a number of scientists have proposed the use of stem cell therapies as a likely new healing choice for males’ inability to produce sperms.
Finding ways to treat male infertility
Lots of studies suggest that injection of stem cells helps the division of germ cells and restores gonadal tissue development. Extraction of stem cells was from adipose tissue, the bone marrow, and the umbilical cord for research purposes. Also, a study showed that using stem cells, functional sperm cells are possible to create in a dish. In this approach, culturing a sperm stem cell in a test tube can become a fully-fledged sperm.
Firstly, scientists have been able to make sperm-like cells using mouse stem cells. However, rodent sperm production is very different from that of humans. Thus, it wasn’t clear that this technology could ever work for us.
Secondly, researchers used stem cells from rhesus macaque monkeys to create immature sperm cells known as round spermatids, which they showed to be capable of fertilizing a rhesus macaque egg. Researchers are using species that are more relevant to us. Therefore, having success in making healthy embryos. These monkeys show similar reproductive processes to humans. Hence, making them ideal models for running cell-based therapies.
This fall, the researchers plan to take the next critical step of implanting these embryos into a surrogate rhesus macaque to examine whether these embryos from IV spermatids can produce a healthy baby. If that step is successful, the team will carry out the same process using spermatid-like cells derived from macaque skin cells.
Accordingly, the results of performed research trials on animal models give a better and deeper outline of stem cell therapy for male infertility treatment. They appear more relevant to recovering from infertility due to better results.
In conclusion, stem cell-based therapies have drawn potential, but this field is still in its early stages. However, there is still hope for a better future.