How Do Men's Testicles Know to Make Sperm?


From a scientific viewpoint, conception is very unusual. It relies on several different processes that all have a very low possibility. For a couple to successfully conceive, it is necessary for a sperm cell to reach and join a woman’s egg. If a man does not have enough sperm or adequately mobile sperm, pregnancy can become impossible. The process behind actually making sperm is even more surprising. If all hormone levels and cell types are not present, a man cannot make sperm.

Sperm is tiny cells that are created within the testes. These cells contain a man’s genetic material, and they have a tiny wiggling tail that propels them through the uterus. They are only made in one place from one specific material. Sperm cells are always produced by spermatogonia, a very special type of cell.

Spermatogonia are a type of stem cell which means they can take the form of many types of cells. They are unlike most cells that can only produce an exact copy of themselves. The specific type of stem cells in the testes can turn into either more stem cells or they can turn into sperm.

When they are creating cells, it is important for spermatogonia to create more stem cells. If they only produce sperm, all of the spermatogonia will die out. This leads to a type of infertility because a man will not be able to make any more sperm. However, if the stem cells only make more stem cells, then no sperm for reproduction is made. Therefore, it is necessary for spermatogonia to create both sperm and stem cells.