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Greece Opens Its First Fertility Clinic for Pre-Pubescent Boys

Greece opens its first fertility clinic for pre-pubescent boys at risk of losing their fertility due to immunodeficiencies.
Greece opens its first fertility clinic for pre-pubescent boys at risk of losing their fertility due to immunodeficiencies. Credit: Merlilindberg. CC BY 4.0/Wikimedia Commons/Merlilindberg

The first fertility bank for pre-pubescent boys who suffer from malignancies and immunodeficiencies has opened in Greece, with the aim of helping those at risk of losing their fertility.

Greece is Shaping the Future of Fertility Treatment

The opening of the first fertility bank for pre-adolescent boys in Greece was announced at the 4th Panhellenic Congress of Reproductive Medicine, held from March 8 to 10, in Athens. The potential patients are young boys who risk losing their fertility either through the disease they suffer from, or via the treatment process.

The only chance to preserve their fertility is through experimental measures based on the use of testicular stem cells, which is now being offered in Greece for the first time, following on the heels of the scientific methods of similar centers already operating in 24 cities around the world – which puts Greece on the map for advancing medical technology.

“It concerns children in whom, for medical reasons, spermatogenesis is not completed and while they can be cured of any disease and continue their lives normally, there is a possibility that they may have fertility failure. However, the preservation of testicular stem cells is the only hope of procreation in most cases – even though their use is still at an experimental stage – as science, as it turns out, is evolving rapidly and provides solutions to many substantial issues,” Dr Theodosia Zeginiadou, a reproductive biologist and project manager told Ygeia mou.

The procedure is not expensive to carry out, but it does require the cooperation of multiple qualified medical professionals, as well as specialised equipment and technical methods. Based on available data, the number of children suffering from the aforementioned conditions is low, and the number of children who will lose their fertility due to the condition is lower still.

“Although the cases are few – which is fortunate – as a scientist I thought it was important to pave the way for this therapeutic method, so that no child will be deprived of a chance in the future, if and when scientific developments allow it,” Mrs Zeginyadou stressed.

Spermatogonial stem cells (testicular stem cells) are the most basic spermatogonia in the testis and play an essential role in maintaining highly productive spermatogenesis by self-renewal and continuous generation of daughter spermatogonia that differentiate from spermatozoa, transmitting genetic information to the next generation.

Since the 1950s, many experimental methods have been used in an attempt to identify the stem cells, but without success. However, in 1994 a transplantation method was reported that established a way of identifying their ability to both self-renew and differentiate to spermatozoa.

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