Male infertility affects approx. 7 % of the male population. There can be many causes of infertility: it can result, for instance, if the testes do not descend to the scrotum in childhood. Cancer treatment can also damage the spermatogonial stem cells. These are the cells which produce sperm after puberty. Researchers hope that that cryopreservation of testicle tissue containing the spermatogonial stem cells from boys who risk losing their fertility is a method that could save the boys’ fertility.
However, there is so far no clinical treatment to produce sperm from cryopreserved testicle tissue to restore fertility.
“We will try to develop a method of culturing spermatogoniale stem cells, so that fertility can be re-established later. The support of the Vissing Foundation will make a real difference to this project,” says Danyang Wang, a PhD student at the Rigshospitalet.
In this research project the spermatogonial stem cells will be cultured in the laboratory and transplanted into mouse testes to investigate whether human spermatogonial stem cell can re-establish their function on transplantation after cryopreservation and thawing.
We will also attempt to mature the spermatogonial stem cells in the laboratory to produce sperm cells which can be used in assisted reproduction. This will be the first clinical attempt to re-establish fertility in boys who have lost their fertility before puberty,” explains Danyang Wang.