How Sperm Mapping Can Save Japan

There I was, lecturing at the leading Japanese male fertility society at their annual meeting in Kobe, Japan and it hit me: Japan has a serious infertility problem. And they really need Sperm Mapping.

Children of Men

Turek Lecture Mapping
My lecture in Kobe, Japan. An uplifting experience.

Here’s the drone view. Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the developed world (1.46, 2.1 is self sustaining). In addition, with a population that is about 40% that of the US, the Japanese do 1.8 times more IVF than we do (424K cycles in Japan) vs. 231K in US). So, they are trying really hard to have kids!

Combating Azoospermia

At the Society meeting, I learned that urologists in Japan are very busy doing testicular sperm retrieval (TESE) procedures in azoospermic or sterile men. They also favor microdissection TESE procedures in the more difficult cases in which I might suggest Sperm Mapping. Alarmingly, sperm is found in around 25% of men in such cases, whereas with Sperm Mapping our rates approach 60%. Japanese urologists ascribed this difference in yield to ethnic variation between Japanese and other populations but such variations are not seen elsewhere in the world.
Early on in my invited talk on Sperm Mapping, I noticed that the audience interest, as well as the crowd size, was building. And for those among us who are experienced educators, it was important to note that no one fell asleep or left the room. Later in the talk, when I presented my most recent data on how Sperm Mapping can find sperm even after microdissection TESE procedures have failed, the room was brimming with energy. The ballroom was stirring with small talk. I think I gave the Japanese some hope. Yes, there is life after failed traditional sperm retrievals.

Sperm From A Rock

Japan is lovely. Neat, tidy, orderly and civilized. It is also very modern and innovative. Who is not utterly impressed by how smoothly Tokyo runs with 13 million people out and about every day! And who among us is not simply overcome by the incredible art, architecture and design pouring forth from the Japanese archipelago over the last 1300 years. It has always been my hope that Sperm Mapping would be widely adopted in Asia and elsewhere around the world during my lifetime. I think this time has arrived. In the words of Victor Hugo “ All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”