Human sperm cells have been made in the laboratory for the first time by culturing immature cells taken from the testes of infertile men.
The breakthrough promises to help young boys made sterile by cancer treatments and adult men who cannot make their own sperm, scientists have claimed.
The sperm cells made in an artificial “bioreactor” look identical to those produced naturally. The technology could be used in two to four years to help infertile men have their own biological children, according to researchers based at a French national research institute in Lyon.
Scientists have been trying for two decades to find a way of producing human sperm in the test tube (in vitro). But no one has been able to complete the complicated cycles of cell division and development that lead the immature “germ cells” in the male testes to become fully mature sperm cells capable of successfully fertilizing eggs.