If you have sickle cell disease and have a succesful stem cell or bone marrow transplant, your blood type changes to AA. But what about your future children? Do your sperm or egg cells continue to express the SS genotype or do they become AA as well?

  • $\begingroup$ Bone Marrow Transplants should not make any changes to the germline. I say should not, because killing the bone marrow prior to transplant usually involves full body irradiation and or chemotherapy, and there is the possibility that you could accumulate mutations in the germ cells, however that genome will still be that person's and not the donor's genome. $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Jan 2, 2016 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ Infertility is common after chemotherapy or irradiation done for transplants, so the question in that case would be moot. $\endgroup$
    – mgkrebbs
    Jan 2, 2016 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


Spermatozoa are produced in a process called spermatogenesis. They come from germ cells, which in the human males are located in the testes. These are not affected by stem cell transplants.

In females, the equivalent oocytes are already present at birth. They undergo meiosis later, but since their genetic composition is already set at birth, they, too, are not affected by stem cell transplants.

This might make the process clearer: Primordial Germ Cells and Sex Determination in Mammals

In all vertebrate embryos, certain cells are singled out early in development as progenitors of the gametes. These primordial germ cells migrate to the developing gonads, which will form the ovaries in females and the testes in males. After a period of mitotic proliferation, the primordial germ cells undergo meiosis and differentiate into mature gametes—either eggs or sperm

A stem cell / bone marrow transplant only affects the bone marrow, where the blood cells are produced.


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