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Scientists Develop Functional Sperm Cells from Monkeys to Treat Male Infertility

Researchers from the University of Georgia have developed functional sperm cells from monkey stem cells to treat men struggling with infertility. They used embryonic stem cells from the rhesus macaque monkeys to produce spermatids, precursors for sperm cells.

Researchers believe they can replicate the results in humans

According to lead author Charles Easley, the study is the first step in developing stem treatments to cure infertility in men. The team conducted the study on an animal species similar to humans and for successful results. For this reason, they believe that they can translate their results to humans.

Rhesus monkeys and humans have a closely similar reproductive system making the monkey the most appropriate model for the experiment.

The scientists were able to activate the eggs and fertilize them with the resulting sperm. Afterward, they ensured that the fertilized egg developed into a healthy embryo. The next step would be to implant the embryo in a female rhesus monkey and assess if the embryo will develop into a healthy baby.

Months before this news, experts speculated that most people would require medical assistance to conceive because the chemicals in our environment are detrimental to human health

Study shows that male fertility is on the decline 

In the separate study, Shanna Swann from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and a professor in Environmental Health and Public Health, states that he has studied the effects of chemicals on the human body for years. The professor reveals how the average sperm count in adult men was half what it used to be. This change seems to have occurred in the last forty years.

From his research, Swann has concluded that the average sperm count will be zero by 2040. Swann adds that most couples would need medical assistance to conceive as fertility declines with each generation.

Currently 1 in 8 couples in the U.S has fertility issues. Physicians are unable to figure out the cause of male infertility for 30-50% of the cases. Often, the cause for this issue is environmental toxicity. Studies have shown that sperm count has gone down by 50% to 60% from 1973-2011. Moreover, the sperm is also unhealthy.

Written by Payal Gupta

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