Male infertility management has made significant progress during the past three decades, especially after the introduction of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in 1992. However, many boys and men still suffer from primary testicular failure due to acquired or genetic causes. New and novel treatments are needed to address these issues. Spermatogenesis originates from spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) that reside in the testis. Many of these men lack SSCs or have lost SSCs over time as a result of specific medical conditions or toxic exposures. Loss of SSCs is critical in prepubertal boys who suffer from cancer and are going through gonadotoxic cancer treatments, as there is no option of sperm cryopresrvation due to sexual immaturity. The development of SSC transplantation in a mouse model to repopulate spermatozoa in depleted testes has opened new avenues of research in other animal models, including nonhuman primates. Recent advances in cryopreservation and in vitro propagation of human SSCs offer promise for human SSC autotransplantation in the near future. Ongoing research is focusing on safety and technical issues of human SSC autotransplantation. This is the time to counsel parents and boys at risk of infertility on the possibility of cryopreserving and banking a small amount of testis tissue for potential future use in SSC transplantation.
Materials and methods