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Israeli researchers find breakthrough in lab-made sperm for infertile couples

Researchers in Israel have achieved a significant breakthrough in fertility science, potentially offering hope to millions of couples grappling with infertility issues globally. Male infertility affects around 12% of men worldwide, leaving them unable to conceive without assistance like sperm donation or adoption.

A team of scientists at Bar-Ilan University has developed a groundbreaking solution: lab-grown testicles known as organoids, capable of producing sperm and regulating reproductive function. Led by Dr. Nitzan Gonen and her team, this breakthrough opens up new avenues for understanding and treating male infertility.

Their research, published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, represents a major step forward in reproductive science. By replicating the complex structure and functions of natural testicles, these artificial organs offer promising prospects for studying sex determination and addressing male infertility.

The process involves culturing immature testicular cells from neonatal mice, which then develop into organoids resembling natural testicular tissue. These lab-grown testicles exhibit tubule-like structures similar to those found in the body, providing an environment conducive to sperm production.

Remarkably, these organoids can be cultured in vitro for an extended period, potentially allowing for the completion of sperm production and hormone secretion. While researchers have yet to confirm sperm production in their model, early signs suggest the initiation of meiosis, a critical step in gamete formation.

The implications of this research are vast. Beyond offering insights into testicular development and function, these artificial testicles hold promise for therapeutic applications in treating infertility and disorders of sexual development. Dr. Gonen envisions a future where organoids grown from human samples could assist individuals undergoing cancer treatment, preserving their fertility for future parenthood.

While further research and refinement lie ahead, the development of lab-grown testicles marks a significant milestone in the quest to overcome infertility challenges. With continued advancements in reproductive science, the possibility of helping millions of couples achieve their dream of parenthood draws nearer.

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