Scientists in Britain report they have created the first artificial human sperm from stem cells.
Researchers at the University of Newcastle and the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute said Wednesday they developed a new technique to make human sperm in a laboratory. They said the resulting cells showed characteristics of sperm, displaying heads, tails, chromosomes and movement.
Other scientists are not certain that what was produced is actually sperm. One of them, University of Sheffield professor Allan Pacey, said he is not convinced the cells function the way human cells would.
The scientists participating in the effort said their techniques need more research. But they said that one day, infertile men may be able to father their own biological children. The group has produced mice using artificial sperm, but those mice lived only a few months.
The research was published in the journal Stem Cells and Development.
The scientists have not announced intentions to create human embryos from the manufactured sperm. They said their intent is to study the reasons for infertility.
Producing embryos from manufactured sperm is banned by British law.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.