New research opens up the possibility to make human sperm outside the body. A new technique developed by Ben- Gurion University researchers has generated mouse sperm cells from testicular germ cells in a laboratory dish. These are the cells in testicles that are responsible for sperm production. Scientists grew the sperm by surrounding the germ cells in a special compound called “agar jelly” to create an environment similar to that found in testicles.
The researchers are now working ‘as quickly as possible’ to reproduce their success in mice to help infertile men. Mahmoud Huleihel, a team member from Israel”s Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, said: ”I believe it will eventually be possible to routinely grow human male sperm to order by extracting tissue containing germ cells from a man’s testicle and stimulating sperm production in the laboratory.” Now, the scientists, whose findings are published in the latest edition of the ”Asian Journal of Andrology”, have begun experiments that they claim would hopefully lead to the “Holy Grail” – human sperm grown outside a man”s body.
“We are confident that if it can be done in a mammal such as a mouse it can be done in humans. We are experimenting with a number of different compounds to get the germ cells to grow into sperm. And we believe it will be possible. And, hopefully soon,” Prof Huleihel said.
Source: The Telegraph
Abu Elhija, M., Lunenfeld, E., Schlatt, S., & Huleihel, M. (2011). Differentiation of murine male germ cells to spermatozoa in a soft agar culture system Asian Journal of Andrology DOI: 10.1038/aja.2011.112