July 2, 2022

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Hope for infertile men as sperm is grown in lab from RAT cells in groundbreaking research

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Hope for infertile men as sperm is grown in lab from RAT cells in groundbreaking research

  • 1 in 7 have issues conceiving and around half of couples find its down to the man
  • But scientists have created lab-grown sperm cells and injected them into rats  
  • They were then injected into eggs, leading to successful birth of several babies

Infertile men have been given hope after scientists created sperm from the stem cells of rats. 

About one in seven couples have trouble conceiving and in about half of cases the problem lies with the man.

But scientists have now created lab-grown sperm cells which, after being injected into male rats, were used to create babies. 

The breakthrough, described as a ‘tour de force’ by British experts, began with stem cells taken from rat embryos. 

About one in seven couples have trouble conceiving and in about half of cases the problem lies with the man (stock image of sperm and egg cell) 

Infertile men have been given hope after scientists created sperm from the stem cells of rats (stock picture of white lab rat)

Infertile men have been given hope after scientists created sperm from the stem cells of rats (stock picture of white lab rat)

Scientists led by the University of Tokyo encouraged the cells to turn into sperm cells by putting them in a chemical ‘soup’. 

The cells were then injected into the testes of rats to become mature sperm, and then injected into eggs, in a rodent version of IVF. 

This led to the successful birth of several baby rats. 

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Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, from London’s Francis Crick Institute, said the study, published in the journal Science, ‘bodes well’ for attempts to create human sperm.

To create human sperm cells, if this were possible one day, men’s skin cells would first have to be converted into stem cells. 

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