ICYMI Science – Monkey created by “Growing” Sperm from Frozen Tissue

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

Washington Post – ‘Growing’ sperm from frozen tissue is “seen as next generation of assisted-reproduction therapy,” as scientists say it will “advance offers new hope for fertility preservation in young boys with cancer.”

Lead author Kyle Orwig, Ph.D., and researchers* with the Fertility Preservation Program in Pittsburgh located within the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), posted their study and findings – Autologous grafting of cryopreserved prepubertal rhesus testis produces sperm and offspring – in Science on March 22, 2019.

Samples of these sperm were then used to fertilize 138 eggs, with 11 of the successful embryos implanted into females. The healthy babies produced confirmed the entire procedure had been a success.

“The ability to produce a healthy live offspring – the gold standard of any reproductive technology – has not been achieved until now,” said Dr Adetunji Fayomi, who led the study.

Performing these trials in non-human primates marks the final stage in the development of this procedure before trying it in humans.

With the successful birth of Grady, the scientists say they are now ready to take their new technology to the clinic.

So far, 110 boys have their samples stored at UPMC.

A similar treatment is available for prepubescent girls undergoing cancer treatment. This involves harvesting and freezing an ovary to be re-implanted in the future. This process is also in the experimental phase, and UPMC currently has 25 frozen ovaries saved.

The re-implanting process has been studied on animals for decades with success. In animal trials, the samples have been viable for up to 14 years. Head of UPMC Magee’s Fertility Preservation program Kyle Orwig says he thinks it’s time to study the re-implanting process in people.

“I think we have patients today that would be eligible for the technology,” he said. “I don’t think we need to wait 14 years, I think it’s time to take that technology to the clinic now.


*[List of researchers and their affilitations:

Adetunji P. Fayomi1,2,3, Karen Peters3, Meena Sukhwani3, Hanna Valli-Pulaski2,3, Gunapala Shetty4, Marvin L. Meistrich4, Lisa Houser5, Nicola Robertson5, Victoria Roberts5, Cathy Ramsey5, Carol Hanna5, Jon D. Hennebold5, Ina Dobrinski6, Kyle E. Orwig1,2,3,*

1-Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology Graduate Program, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
2-Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
3-Magee-Womens Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
4-Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.
5-Assisted Reproductive Technology Core, Oregon National Primate Research Center, Beaverton, OR, USA.
6-Department of Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Did you know scientist recently unfroze ram sperm and created healthy born lambs?

Gizmodo – “In 1968, veterinary scientist Steven Salamon froze pellets of the Merino sheep sperm using liquid nitrogen, which he did to test the long-term viability of semen cryopreservation.”

Semen frozen back in 1968 has been used to impregnate dozens of Merino ewes, resulting in healthy lambs. The Australian scientists who made it happen say it’s the oldest sperm ever used to produce offspring.
A research team led by Simon de Graaf from the Sydney Institute of Agriculture and School of Life and Environmental Sciences impregnated 34 Merino ewes with the thawed out 50-year-old ram sperm, according to a University of Sydney press release. Incredibly, the sperm resulted in birth rates comparable to semen frozen for 12 months.

This latest experiment suggests sperm can remain frozen for at least 50 years to no discernible ill effect. The news bodes well for not just veterinary scientists, but also individuals at risk of losing their fertility, such as males undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. As de Graaf told Inverse, “What is true for the sheep is also true for humans.”

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