Application of Stem Cell Therapy for Infertility

Cells. 2021 Jun 28;10(7):1613. doi: 10.3390/cells10071613.


Infertility creates an immense impact on the psychosocial wellbeing of affected couples, leading to poor quality of life. Infertility is now considered to be a global health issue affecting approximately 15% of couples worldwide. It may arise from factors related to the male (30%), including varicocele, undescended testes, testicular cancer, and azoospermia; the female (30%), including premature ovarian failure and uterine disorders; or both partners (30%). With the recent advancement in assisted reproduction technology (ART), many affected couples (80%) could find a solution. However, a substantial number of couples cannot conceive even after ART. Stem cells are now increasingly being investigated as promising alternative therapeutics in translational research of regenerative medicine. Tremendous headway has been made to understand the biology and function of stem cells. Considering the minimum ethical concern and easily available abundant resources, extensive research is being conducted on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) for their potential application in reproductive medicine, especially in cases of infertility resulting from azoospermia and premature ovarian insufficiency. However, most of these investigations have been carried out in animal models. Evolutionary divergence observed in pluripotency among animals and humans requires caution when extrapolating the data obtained from murine models to safely apply them to clinical applications in humans. Hence, more clinical trials based on larger populations need to be carried out to investigate the relevance of stem cell therapy, including its safety and efficacy, in translational infertility medicine.

Keywords: assisted reproduction technology; induced pluripotent stem cell; infertility; mesenchymal stem cell; spermatogonial stem cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infertility / epidemiology
  • Infertility / therapy*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
  • Risk Factors
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Syndrome