Pass it on: Sons of infertile men may be next

JoNel Aleccia | NBC News | 17 September 2008

More than a dozen years after fertility specialists learned to turn all-but-sterile men into fathers, scientists are awaiting answers to a looming question: What about the sons?

The first few babies born using a process that transformed male infertility by allowing doctors to use sperm from men with impossibly low counts and other problems are now turning 15. An even larger crop of so-called “ICSI babies,” children conceived with the help of intracytoplasmic sperm injection and in vitro fertilization, or IVF, are just approaching adolescence.

For the daughters born to these dads, there appears to be little problem. Research suggests that, in general, techniques such as IVF and ICSI are safe and effective, although some scientists say there’s not enough data to be sure. One of the central concerns centers on the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities leading to male infertility.

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