A new study reports that 14 babies have been born following the injection of very immature sperm cells into eggs. According to researchers the technique could help infertile men to become fathers.
The 14 kids were born to 12 men and their partners in Japan after round spermatid injection (Rosi). None of the children, born between September 2011 and March 2014, have shown any sign of physical or mental issues, said the scientists of the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
‘The 14 children were born to 12 men and their partners between September 2011 and March 2014 after round spermatid injection. None of the children have shown any sign of physical or mental problems.’
The injection has been banned in the United Kingdom since the 1990s due to health concerns. The disclosure from Japanese scientists has prompted an expert in male fertility to call for the UK ban to be looked at again.
Spermatids are early-stage round-shaped sperm. It is seen in the testes of men who would normally be considered sterile and advised to consider using a sperm donor.
The team, led by Dr Atsushi Tanaka, from the Institute for ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) in Fukuoka, Japan, concluded: "Round spermatid injection was effectively used in our clinic and resulted in the birth of 14 healthy babies. Although the current success rate of round spermatid injection is not very high compared with intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (Icsi), this procedure can be the last resort for men who cannot produce spermatozoa but wish to use their own genetic material to produce offspring."