In vitro spermatogenesis as a method to bypass pre-meiotic or post-meiotic barriers blocking the spermatogenetic process: genetic and epigenetic implications in assisted reproductive technology

Andrologia. 2007 Oct;39(5):159-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2007.00778.x.


Pregnancies achieved by assisted reproduction technologies and particularly by ooplasmic injections of either in vivo or in vitro generated immature male germ cells are susceptible to genetic risks inherent to the male population treated with assisted reproduction and additional risks inherent to these innovative procedures. The documented, as well as the theoretical risks, are discussed in this review. These risks represent mainly the consequences of genetic abnormalities underlying male infertility and may become stimulators for the development of novel approaches and applications in the treatment of infertility. Recent data suggest that techniques employed for in vitro spermatogenesis, male somatic cell haploidization, stem cell differentiation in vitro and assisted reproductive technology may also affect the epigenetic characteristics of the male gamete, the female gamete, or may have an impact on early embryogenesis. They may be also associated with an increased risk for genomic imprinting abnormalities. Production of haploid male gametes in vitro may not allow the male gamete to undergo all the genetic and epigenetic alterations that the male gamete normally undergoes during in vivo spermatogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / genetics
  • Male
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
  • Risk
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics*