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Hum Reprod. 2000 May;15(5):988-98.

Alternative sources of gametes: reality or science fiction?

Author information

1
The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 505 East 70th Street, HT-336, New York, NY 10021, USA.

Abstract

Although great progress has been made in both the investigation and treatment of infertility, a considerable number of patients still fail to conceive. Spermatogenic failure and/or oocyte ageing appear to be responsible for a large proportion of cases. The use of donor gametes may bring legal, ethical and even social problems of acceptance that can discourage infertile couples from the donor route. Fortunately, emerging reproductive technologies and preliminary results from animal experiments provide some hope for alternative sources of gametes through which these infertile patients can finally conceive their own genetic child. In conjunction with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), fertilization of human oocytes with immature sperm precursors, e.g. spermatids and even secondary spermatocytes, has resulted in healthy babies. Pregnancies have also resulted from the use of spermatids derived from in-vitro spermatogenesis. In the mouse, even primary spermatocytes appear able to participate in normal embryogenesis. In view of the possibility for transplantation and even xenotransplantation of spermatogonia to a host testis in animals, a similar use of human male stem cells might provide an attractive source for the treatment of males with arrested spermatogenesis, as well as male cancer patients. Transplantation of somatic cell nuclei and their haploidization within oocytes may prove to be a practical way of eradicating age-related aneuploidy and so constitute an innovative source of healthy oocytes. Most importantly, however, the safety of the procedures described here needs to be proven before their application to the human arena. Finally, we discuss the implications of cytoplasmic quality and of genetic imprinting in the context of these manipulations.

PMID:
10783340
DOI:
10.1093/humrep/15.5.988
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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