Scientists have for the first time grown mouse sperm in a laboratory,a major breakthrough they claim may soon pave the way for production of artificial human semen that could help infertile men father their own children.
An international team,led by Professor Stefan Schlatt at Muenster University in Germany,claims to have grown mouse sperm by using few germ cells in a laboratory dish. These are the cells in testicles responsible for semen production.
In fact,the 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.
Mahmoud Huleihel,a team member from Israels Ben Gurion University in Beersheba,said: We were able to produce viable sperm that could have been used to create baby mice. The sperm appeared healthy and were not genetically damaged. I believe it will eventually be possible to routinely grow human male sperm to order by extracting tissue containing germ cells from a mans 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 mans body.