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New Male Fertility Breakthrough

 Most guys assume their swimmers are champs. So finding out they aren’t even showing up for the race when trying to make a baby can be devastating.

 
Fortunately, Japanese researchers may be on to a cutting-edge treatment to grow your sperm for you. Scientists have, for the first time, successfully grown sperm in a lab using testicular tissue taken from baby mice, according to research published in today’s issue of the scientific journal Nature.
 
The tissue was cultured on a special nutrient-rich, sponge-like gel, to produce sperm under close lab supervision. And here’s what’s most amazing: Test-tube sperm were able to successfully impregnate female mice using in vitro fertilization—and produced healthy offspring.
 
Success in mice adds to a growing body of knowledge that may make it possible to grow sperm using human tissue in as few as 2 years. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” says Paul Turek, M.D., pioneer of several highly effective male fertility treatments and director of the Turek Clinic in San Francisco. However, there are substantial challenges scientists will have to overcome. “The metamorphoses cells go through to become sperm are incredibly complex,” Dr. Turek explains. “The recipe doesn’t just translate from mice to humans.”
 
If you’ve had a sperm count and been told you’re dry, don’t lose hope: “Pockets of sperm may still be present in your testicles, even after the most intense cancer treatment,” Dr. Turek says. Dr. Turek has developed a sperm-mapping technique that finds this sperm so it can be retrieved and used to fertilize your partner’s eggs using in vitro fertilization. (For details, watch Dr. Turek’s recent appearance on The Doctors.) 
 
Generally, if you have been trying to conceive for 12 months without success, a full medical workup is suggested—“for both partners,” Dr. Turek emphasizes. And because a great many health issues can play into sperm production, “that means a complete evaluation—not just a sperm count,” the doctor said. “Fertility treatments tend to go straight for IVF. As a consequence, men do not get the kind of care they deserve in these situations. Serious health issues may go unrecognized.”
 
The good news is, with the right care, you might not need a high-tech solution like sperm mapping or IVF. A healthy diet and managing stress—just a few of the Secrets of Lifelong Fertility—can go a long way toward kick-starting your sperm-production engine.

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