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Science / Medicine : Surgery Aids Would-Be Fathers

From Times staff and wire reports

Medical researchers say they have found a way to make fathers out of men born without the 18-inch-long tubes that transport sperm from the testicles. With the help of technology used to create test-tube babies, doctors at UC Irvine and St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis produced eight babies for 28 male volunteers without the tube, known as the vas deferens.

The findings were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Surgeons first collected sperm released by the testicles of each man, then they mixed it with eggs extracted from the wife. Up to 15 of the freshly fertilized eggs at a time were then removed from the test tube and implanted in the wife.

When the process generated one embryo, as two-thirds of the attempts did, nearly half of the women became pregnant. When two embryos were generated, the pregnancy rate jumped to 75%.

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The sperm were collected during a 2 1/2-hour operation during which doctors made a 0.75-inch-long incision in the testicle.


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