In a startling scientific breakthrough, men with fertility problems can now produce sperms, allowing them finally to have children they can call their own. What's the magic behind the new hope? Simple. Their own human skin.

The international community is all eyes on a group of researchers at the Montana State University (MSU) for their interesting and groundbreaking discovery that skin cells are viable sources in developing the precursors of sperm cells.  

In 2012, a team of scientists from the University of Pittsburgh was the first to find out that early stages of sperm cell can be derived from the skin tissue of fertile men. However, it was in the latest study [pdf] published in journal Cell Reports that proved such methods could succeed in infertile men.

"Infertility is remarkably common, affecting 10 to 15 percent of couples," senior author Renee Reijo-Pera said in a press release. "And the genetic causes of infertility are surprisingly prevalent among men. So progress in this area could potentially help thousands, if not millions, of couples around the world."

The MSU team took samples of skin cells from men suffering from a genetic disorder known as azoospermia, or "no sperm count" that means there is no detectable level sperm in the semen. Such condition affects one percent of the male population.

Afterwards, the skin cells were converted into induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSC, a type of stem cell that posses the ability to mimic and become any type of cell. The generation of these cells was started by Shinya Yamanaka in Kyoto, Japan, who confirmed in 2006 that the introduction of four specific genes, namely the Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc expressions, could turn adult cells into pluripotent stem cells.

The team then implanted the stem cells into the testes of mice where they produced the precursors to sperm. The experiment, which was conducted in Stanford University, was the "first time such work has ever been done."

The potential of the study is promising; it could help scientists find out more about the causes and, hopefully, much-coveted treatments for infertility in men. It may even open doors for implants of men's own cells in their testes as part of the treatment.

The study could help Earth's biodiversity, too. By using stem cells, endangered species may be saved from their current status and help beef up chances of reproduction.

Reijo-Pera, who is also the new vice president for research of MSU, however said the newfound treatment is yet to be available in clinics as it requires further studies.

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.