"Years later, grown sperm in the laboratory could allow them to have children that were genetically theirs," Pacey said. However, legal issues may arise regarding obtaining testicular tissue from kids who aren't old enough to give consent, he added.
Dr. Robert D. Oates, professor of urology at Boston University School of Medicine, said: "We're doing such a great job of curing people that we need to think about the other long-term issues, of which fertility is one. It's nice that they can have a full adulthood like the rest of us do and are able to have kids."
As for infertile men, eventually it may be possible to take their tissue and grow sperm outside their bodies instead of searching for rare working sperm through biopsies of their testicles, said Dr. Ian Cooke, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Sheffield.
But if genetic problems caused their infertility in the first place, growing sperm outside the body wouldn't make any difference, Cooke said.
For more about infertility, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Allan Pacey, B.Sc., Ph.D., senior lecturer in andrology, and Ian Cooke, M.D., emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Sheffield, England; Robert D. Oates, M.D., professor of urology, Boston University School of Medicine; Takehiko Ogawa, M.D., Ph.D., urologist, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan; March 24, 2011, Nature
All rights reserved