Treatment of Oligospermia (Low Sperm Count) with Stem Cells

Sperm Azlığı (Oligospermi)

Oligospermia can be treated with stem cell therapy, and patients who can not have children due to low sperm count are able to have children upon reaching the desired sperm quality and quantity after treatment. The success rate is 95% and above in patients who are eligible for treatment.

  • Stem cells can develop into healthy cells to which they touch and can reproduce them. In Oligospermia, the stem cells administered to the person turn into sperm cells which are low in count and allow them to multiply.
  • Oligospermia treatment with stem cells can be applied to all adult men who have sperm cells even in low quantities.
  • Stem cells that are separated from the adipose tissue rich in stem cells obtained from the patient are multiplied in the laboratory and administered to the patient by intravenous route and/or by injection to the area in cases where the physician deems appropriate.
  • It is observed that the patients who have not been able to have children due to low sperm count for years can have children after the treatment.

What is Oligospermia (Low Sperm Count)?

If the number of sperm cells is less than 20 million/ml based on the semen (liquid that contains sperm) analysis carried out for an adult male, it is called Oligospermia. Since semen (liquid that contains sperm) concentration may vary as per the changes in the living conditions of people, in recent studies conducted by the World Health Organization, it is accepted as oligospermia if the sperm count is less than 15 million.

What are the symptoms of Oligospermia (Low Sperm Count)?

If an adult man cannot have children even though he wishes to, and his partner does not have any problems, then the sperm count of the male is analyzed. Low sperm count does not cause any symptoms in the body.

Oligospermia (Low Sperm Count) Degrees

As the result of the analysis; if the sperm count is 10 to 15 million sperm/ml, then it is called mild oligospermia, if it is 5 to 10 million sperm/ml, it is called moderate oligospermia, and severe oligospermia is diagnosed when sperm count is lower than 5 million sperm/ml.

Causes of Oligospermia (Low Sperm Count):

Oligospermia may be related to testicular or non-testicular problems, problems in testicles appearing later on, and idiopathic and genetic problems.

Non-testicular causes:

It may be due to the failure to provide adequate support to testicles, general habits, drugs, alcohol, smoking, insufficient vitamins and hormones, and also testicles may be damaged physically during activities such as horse riding and cycling. Hypogonadism (sex hormone deprivation) caused by the person's hormone treatments or different reasons can also be considered within non-testicular causes.

Causes related to Testicles:

Although there is no hormone deficiency in patients with oligospermia, low sperm count due to testicles may be experienced. These include decrease in sperm count depending on age, genetic disorder in Y chromosome, abnormal chromosome structure, disorder of USP 26 enzyme, abnormal growth in any body tissue (neoplasm), reproductive (genital) system structural differences, varicocele, swelling in the testicular bag (hydrocele), past mumps or malaria.

Causes occurring in the testicles later on:

These are conditions that negatively affect male reproductive (genital) system after sperm production in testicles and sperm functioning quality due to ejaculation problems in men. Infections or prostate problems, cystic fibrosis, obstruction in the ejaculation channel may cause low sperm count.

Idiopathic (having no known reason) Oligospermia

In 30% of men, the condition of this group of oligospermia patients is called idiopathic, since low sperm count or poor sperm quality is defined as idiophatic under clinical or laboratory conditions. Age, infectious diseases (such as chlamydial infection), microdeletion syndrome, mitochondrial changes, environmental pollution, developing hormonal changes can be a few factors affecting this 30%.

In a study completed in 2013, it was observed that oligospermia and azoospermia diseases were significantly associated with being fat or obese, but the cause was still unclear since patients who are thin have these diseases as well.

DNA damage-induced oligospermia

Breast cancer susceptibility gene 2 (BRCA2) repairs homologous recombination of damaged DNA during meiosis. Disorders in this gene have been associated with severe oligospermia.

Oligospermia (Low Sperm Count) Treatment

Since the cause or causes of oligospermia are not precisely known, healthy lifestyle and the process of completing the identified missing problems of the person is the starting point of the specialist physicians.

It is believed that, in addition to general advices of experts such as healthy diet, regular exercise, quitting smoking, and avoiding toxic substances etc., herbal treatments may be a cure for this disease as well. Herbal treatments and testosterone enhancing methods are preferred. Another natural treatment method is stem cell therapy.

Treatment of Oligospermia (Low Sperm Count) with Stem Cells

In oligospermia cases, before stem cell therapy, semen analysis, genetic karyotype analysis and testicular biopsy sample may be required to determine whether or not the results can be obtained with simpler methods.

According to these findings, treatment options are evaluated. If the patient is found to be suitable for stem cell therapy, s/he undergoes the required blood tests and can then be started on treatment.

Treatment Process

Stem cells have the ability to turn into the cells they have touched. Therefore, they are used in the treatment of oligospermia. Even if there are very few sperm-forming cells, they touch these cells, increase the number of these cells and ensure sperm production.
In patients without any genetic disorders, stem cells obtained from the patient are administered.

Genetically oligospermia patients are treated by administering the patient with stem cells that genetically do not carry this disorder. At the end of all tests, it is decided which type of stem cells to give. However, after the entire testis structure has improved, new sperm formation takes at least 72 days. Therefore, sperm production is expected to take place at the earliest 6 months to 1 year after treatment.

The combination of all stages of sperm production and development is called 'spermatogenesis'. Spermatogenesis involves the processing related to the sperm cell from the stage of stem cell to the stage where it becomes a mature sperm. This process is completed in the range of 65 to 75 days. Understanding the stages of the process of spermatogenesis and knowing how each stage affects to the process are very important to decide how the treatment should be done.

Method of Administration:

The number of cells to be administered is determined according to the age and weight of the patient. Treatment is carried out using mesenchymal stem cells (derived from the patient's own adipose tissue or bone marrow) or fetal stem cells. The treatment of the patient is decided according to the condition of the patient. It can be performed in 3 sessions 45 days apart or in 3 consecutive days. The treatment protocol is precisely adjusted according to the patient's condition and a different protocol may be applied for each patient.

This disease can be treated at our GenCell Stem Cell Treatment Center in Kiev, Ukraine.

Success Rates in the Treatment of Oligospermia with Stem Cells

If there is even a small number of viable cells in the sperm producing cells inside the testis, the success rate is 95% or more. The treatment can be repeated after 1 year to increase the number of sperms after sperm formation has taken place. Duration of evaluation of sperm formation is no earlier than 6 months after treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can stem cell therapy be applied to every patient with oligospermia?

If the patient is not receiving cancer treatment and does not use cell killer drugs and if he has healthy sperm cells even in small quantities, then stem cell therapy can be applied.

How many times can stem cell therapy be administered in oligospermia?

Since the treatment does not have any side effects, it can be administered as long as the person wants to increase his sperm count to ideal levels. Treatment may be successful at the 1st administration or it may need to be repeated later on.

Does stem cell therapy applied for oligospermia cause sexual reluctance?

Sexual reluctance is absolutely not seen after stem cell therapy. On the contrary, since stem cell therapy is also used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction as well it may even have positive effects on the sexual performance of the individual.

Scientific Studies

  1. Fazeli, Z., Abedindo, A., Omrani, M. D., & Ghaderian, S. M. H. (2018). Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) therapy for recovery of fertility: a systematic review. Stem Cell Reviews and Reports, 14(1), 1-12.
  2. Venkatesan, V., & Madhira, S. L. (2014). Promise (s) of using mesenchymal stem cells in reproductive disorders. The Indian Journal of Medical Research, 140(Suppl 1), S98.
  3. Volarevic, V., Bojic, S., Nurkovic, J., Volarevic, A., Ljujic, B., Arsenijevic, N., … & Stojkovic, M. (2014). Stem cells as new agents for the treatment of infertility: current and future perspectives and challenges. BioMed research international, 2014.
  4. Hassan, A. I., & Alam, S. S. (2014). Evaluation of mesenchymal stem cells in treatment of infertility in male rats. Stem cell research & therapy, 5(6), 131.
  5. Mehrabani, D., Hassanshahi, M. A., Tamadon, A., Zare, S., Keshavarz, S., Rahmanifar, F., … & Ramzi, M. (2015). Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells repair germinal cells of seminiferous tubules of busulfan-induced azoospermic rats. Journal of human reproductive sciences, 8(2), 103.
  6. Gassei, K., & Orwig, K. E. (2016). Experimental methods to preserve male fertility and treat male factor infertility. Fertility and sterility, 105(2), 256-266.
  7. Vahdati, A., Fathi, A., Hajihoseini, M., Aliborzi, G., & Hosseini, E. (2017). The regenerative effect of bone marrow-derived stem cells in spermatogenesis of infertile hamster. World journal of plastic surgery, 6(1), 18.

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