Infertility affects an estimated 15% of couples globally, amounting to 48.5 million people. Scientists at Valencian Infertility Institute in Spain are working to find a solution for the couples who are unable to have children.
No dependence upon donated sperm to have children – Infertile men could soon grow sperm from skin cells!
Carlos Simon, the scientific director of the Valencian Infertility Institute and his team have created human sperm from skin cells. They were inspired by the work of Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka and Britain’s John Gordon, who won a Nobel Prize for the discovery that adult cells can be transformed back into embryo-like stem cells.
The creation of sperm in the body itself is so complex and such a lengthy process that it had been considered impossible to recreate them in a dish.
How they managed to create human sperm from skin cells:
Simon and his team added a cocktail of genes to skin cells. Within a month, they found skin cells transformed into a germ cell, which can further develop into sperm or an egg. However, they found that the germ cell produced did not have the ability to fertilize.
Simon said, “This is a sperm but it needs a further maturation phase to become a gamete. This is just the beginning.”