New sperm from stem cells?

Dear Professor Winston,
I do hope this email finds you well. I have read through many websites about you and your work and I wanted to run something past you as I am very confused about the situation my partner and I are in. My partner is 30 years old. When he was born in 1984 doctors believed his testicles hadnt dropped. So when he was 3 months old he was operated on but no full testicles were found. His Mum and his current consultant have conflicting information about what happened during this operation. His Mum remembers them saying they removed any tissue that was present, but his consultant thinks the opposite. So when he turned 11, he had his first set of testicular implants put in and was started on testosterone in the form of injections. When he was 17 he had the implants replaced and still now has testosterone injected every 10-12 weeks (Nebido). My only question really is simply is it 100% impossible for my partner to have his own children with medical intervention? I cant move on with the alternative until I have exhausted all avenues for a different solution to sperm donation. I would love to have the chance to speak to you about this as we are desperate to start a family and would love to know if there is any way possible for us to have a natural child together. Thank you , A.

Dear A,

I think that there is little doubt that there is not going to be any successful treatment for your partner in the foreseeable future. The options would appear to be either donor semen, or possibly in the very long run, stem cell therapy.

In future years it may be possible to make new sperm from your partner’s stem cells but I fear this technology is still a very long way off – possibly two decades or more. Whilst making sperm out of primitive stem cells made from embryos has been achieved in mice a massive amount of research will need to be done for this to be possible in humans and to ensure that any child produced by this approach is free of very serious defects. I therefore think you really have to accept the advice you are getting from your doctors.

My apologies for this disappointing reply
Robert Winston