Tens of thousands of infertile men who cannot develop their own sperm have fresh hope for conceiving as French researchers created sperm in a laboratory it was announced this week.
Kallistem, a company based in in Lyon, France, said they had created human sperm in vitro, the first such report of such a feat.
Isabelle Cuoc, CEO of Kallistem stated: “Kallistem is addressing a major issue whose impacts are felt worldwide: the treatment of male infertility."
“Our team is the first in the world to have developed the technology required to obtain fully formed spermatozoa [sperm] in vitro with sufficient yield for IVF.”
Kallistem's method takes male fertility tissue, known as spermatogonia, and turns it into mature sperm in test tubes. The complex process usually takes 72 days.
The company is refusing to disclose any more about the process until the publication of a patent on June 23rd for the process.
The lack of disclosure or peer review has led to experts from around the world to call for caution while further work is conducted.
Professor Allan Pacey, a male fertility expert at the University of Sheffield, was skeptical.
“Claims like this can often cause heartache for infertile couples who see them as hope only to have their hopes dashed later when it doesn’t translate into an available procedure,” he told the Daily Mail.
Kallistem is looking to begin human clinical trials within two years and is crowdsourcing funds for the study.
It forecasts the ability to treat 50,000 men a year, and estimates the market to be worth $2 billion per year.