Scientists have managed to give birth to a mouse that has been produced by using an artificial sperm. This was the first time an animal was made by artificial sperm made in the laboratory. This event gives hope to men suffering from infertility.
In the experiment, mouse eggs were fertilized by sperm grown from embryonic stem (ES) cells. The researchers created male mouse embryos first that have developed into blastocysts. Then they took sperm that formed from spermatogonial stem cells for culturing. The sperm was taken and injected into the mouse eggs that formed embryos. When embryos have formed, they were placed in the wombs of surrogate mothers.
Fertilization wasn’t easy and it wasn’t very successful because only about 50% of the eggs injected managed to develop as far as two-cell embryos. From the 50 eggs that managed to develop to embryos, only 7 were carried to term but all of them died within first seven months comparing to a normal two year lifespan.
The most important thing is that births were given and exactly this is a proof that it will be possible to use stem cells for fertilization one day.
Much more work is needed to be done and scientists are announcing possibilities of creating both eggs and sperm cells from only one individual but it is a long and rocky road.
Until all the tests done on animals prove to be safe, artificial gametes should not be used in humans.