Turek on men's health
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Award-winning urologist - and pioneer in Men's Health - Dr. Paul Turek blogs weekly about issues such as infertility, vasectomy and vasectomy reversal, sexual and hormonal dysfunction and more. Keep up with the latest on this fascinating field of medicine.

Imagine a World without Male Infertility

Dr Turek pondering the cure for male infertility
Dr. Turek daydreaming about futures cures for male infertility.

Forgive me for dreaming, but it’s the New Year and a great time to think about what the future holds, if only for a moment. Maybe you have a vision for what you’d like to see happen, whether political, financial, personal or global. Here is a deeply felt professional vision that constantly inspires me.

Truly Azoospermic?

You are a patient and you have been told that you are sterile and cannot have kids. Imagine me telling you two things: 1) that it might not be true, and 2) I can figure it out without hurting you or even touching you. No surgical testis biopsy. No highly acclaimed fine needle aspiration map.  Just jump into a specially designed, radiation-free, MRI scanner for 15 minutes and learn the answer. No muss, no fuss.

That, my friends, is the goal of testicular metabolomics. And we are inching closer to this reality every day as I live and breathe on this good earth.

The Metabolomic Crystal Ball

But there’s more. Say that the metabolomic scan finds that you indeed are sterile and that no sperm exist in the testicles for you to use with IVF-ICSI. However, the scan tells us something else: that there are early germ cells (sperm precursor cells) present. Now, imagine removing some of these early germ cells (stem cells) from the testicle, putting them into an artificial testicle and, just as a seed becomes a plant, make sperm outside your body. Your sperm, with your genetic material. The magic of stem cell technology.

Stem Cells to the Rescue

Now, suppose that the metabolomic scan shows no early germ cells in the testicle. Is this really the end of the rope? Hopefully not. Imagine taking a simple skin biopsy or mouth swab and creating stem cells for you that could then be placed into the same artificial testicle to make sperm. Your sperm. Again, the glorious potential of stem cell science.

I get all jittery just thinking about the impact that these technologies could have on the future of human male infertility. This puts a wide smile on my face and continually fuels my passion for making it happen. Reality check #1: it will take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Reality check #2: in the words of Brian Clough “I wasn’t on that particular job.”

Schedule a Consultation With Dr. Turek

To schedule, feel free to give us a call at 310-499-9299 (LA) or 415-392-3200 (SF) or drop us an email at info@theturekclinic.com.

10 Responses to “Imagine a World without Male Infertility”

  1. Ronald Livingston

    like to know if the testosterone prescription a while back is still good

    • Paul Turek, MD Paul Turek, MD

      Testosterone prescriptions in the US are “scheduled drugs” and monitored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). I would think that a 1 year old prescription would need to be rewritten.

  2. Al

    When u say this will take time. How long are u estimating for the MRI to be available. Thanks.

  3. Danielle

    Thank you so much for your enthusiastic research on a topic most are drawn into involuntarily. I never imagined exploring male infertility until it became necessary about 2 years ago. Since then, my husband and I learned about his Sertoli-cell only diagnosis and the repercussions have been hard to take. I’m undergoing an egg retrieval in the hopes of having a child, though with donor sperm. Is there any chance my husband and I might have a chance in the future? Should I keep some eggs frozen for the future, or am I kidding myself at this point? We’re 30 and 33 respectively now, so we don’t have unlimited time to wonder. I appreciate your insight and would be so grateful for any information pertaining to stem cell research as it affects your project.

    • Paul Turek, MD Paul Turek, MD

      Danielle, It is good to hear that you are both moving forward at this point. I do see breakthroughs in the field with either metabolomics or stem cell research maturing in the next 3-8 years. If you have frozen eggs, then you have the best chance of conceiving for the next 10-15 years! Egg freezing is certainly a reasonable consideration to keep the hope up.

  4. Sarah

    HI Dr. Turek,

    I wrote the same question on a previous blog, but I had to scroll up quite a bit to post on the relevant thread, so I’m not sure it will get read. Anyway, can you tell us what the latest is with your research regarding sperm production from stem cells? Thank you very much.

    • Paul Turek, MD Paul Turek, MD

      Sarah, I am presenting some new scientific data at our national urology meetings (American Urological Association) in May (next month). Basically, we have loaded the artificial testicle with human embryonic stem cells and the stem cells lived in the system for 42 days (a record). In addition, they BEGAN to start heading down the path toward sperm (but we have not yet gotten sperm). Much more work to do!

  5. Lesley

    Dear Dr Turek I have been following your work on stem cells and artificial testicle with so much hope and interest.My little boy was devastatingly born without testicles.It was heartbreaking for myself and his father.We want the world for him and I just wondered if you think there might be a chance he can have his own children one day. I have spent the last few years looking for a way or something that could be done to make this possible . Our sons consultants said he would never be able to but I am hopeful after reading your blog.

    • Paul Turek, MD Paul Turek, MD

      Leslie, I am convinced that your little boy will have sperm one day. I am hoping that that day comes before I leave this good earth, as I have spent, and will spend, a SERIOUS portion of the rest of my career seeing that this happens.


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