The scientific journal Human Reproduction (Oxford Journals) has published a study, prepared by international experts, which rejects the therapeutic possibilities of stem cells in the field of human fertility.
Dr. Rita Vassena (Eugin Clinic), coordinator of the study: “Our reproductive cells are highly complex and our body carries out many ‘quality controls’, so replicating these sophisticated steps in vitro is very difficult.”
The regenerative power of stem cells applied to fertility problems is, for the moment, far from being a reality. This is what clearly emerges from the study published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Human Reproduction (Oxford Journals), backed by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).
In view of the interest shown by patients regarding the use of stem cells in assisted reproduction, consensus has been reached among the leading European professionals, members of the ESHRE special interest group on stem cells, who took part in a joint study led by Dr. Rita Vassena, a member of the executive committee of this European body and Scientific Director at Eugin Clinic.
Entitled Stem cells: ready for the patient?, the paper analysed the existing scientific studies and clinical trials which relate their use for therapeutic purposes in assisted reproduction, such as the creation of eggs and sperm.
Experts in assisted reproduction urge caution
"The results of the published study necessitate caution regarding the use of stem cells in fertility treatments, since, in accordance with what was researched, they are unproven," explains Dr. Vassena (Eugin Clinic), coordinator of the study. It should be borne in mind that “the cells we use to reproduce - ova and sperm - are highly complex, and during the process our body carries out many ‘quality controls’, which is why reproducing these very sophisticated steps in vitro is very difficult. Currently, we are still studying how to complete the maturation of the gametes - reproductive-cells of a living being, both male and female - in vitro and the only effective option for the moment remains in vitro fertilisation, with techniques such as ICSI - based on the selection of the best spermatozoa or egg donation", she concludes.
The study finds that "stem cell treatments for diseases and disorders related to fertility are not feasible", that "to date there are no proven therapies based on the use of stem cells aimed at improving or solving reproductive function" and "that there are no proven means with stem cells that enhance reproductive function."
Therefore, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology insists that "patients and doctors should be wary of unfounded announcements about improvements in certain medical situations."
Study published in Human Reproduction: