Made to order sperm


French company reports producing artificial sperm in the lab.

Having a baby, whether it is through assisted reproductive technology or the old fashioned way, involves the union of a single egg and a single sperm. Modern laboratory techniques such as ICSI and TESA/MESA enable men with extremely low sperm counts and even with immature or non swimming  sperm, to achieve a pregnancy. Still, at the current time, there is no way to help men who produce no sperm at all and wish to have children without using a sperm donor.  

A French start up company called Kallistem has now made a major breakthrough, growing sperm from stem cells in the laboratory. For those men who have the appropriate stem cells, this discovery may make it possible to produce sperm for men who cannot produce them on their own. This technology while promising is still a long way from being ready for prime time. They will still need to show that this technique is reproducible, that these sperm are capable of fertilizing eggs and most importantly that the embryos that result are able to reliably produce healthy babies.