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This is an amazing story and an inspiration to all cancer patients! See below for news about a mother who had the foresight to preserve the sperm of her teenage son who was being treated for leukemia…no doubt something that was not on the radar screen of a young person who has been given a diagnosis of a serious and life-threatening cancer. Most cancer patients first think about surviving their cancer, and only later on think about the consequences of treatment and cancer survivorship. The teenage boy benefited from the miracle of modern day chemotherapy, which is now pretty standard for most forms of leukemia and lymphoma affected children, teenagers, and young adults. As a consequence, he became sterile and could no longer have children.
Dial forward 22 years after the diagnosis of leukemia and you have a grown man who is married and wants to have children. Thanks to his mom, he was able to do this…on the first pass of in vitro fertilization no less! This story demonstrates that there is no “shelf life” for appropriately preserved sperm or eggs. They can be frozen for 22 years and then literally brought back to life again!
See my blog on fertility issues in women with the same inspiring results:
“Fertility Preservation: An Issue Less Than Half of Affected Cancer Patients Are Told About”
The common factor about these stories is that the patients, their family, and their doctors were all supportive of these fertility issues and made appropriate arrangements so that these cancer survivors could have the benefit of being parents with children of their own genetic make-up! Unfortunately, the majority of studies show that less than half of eligible cancer patients actually receive this information and thus are rendered infertile (sterile) for the remainder of their life. So be sure to talk to ask your doctor about fertility issues!
See the news article below for more details.
From The London Times, April 14, 2009
A former leukaemia patient who had his sperm frozen as a teenager has fathered a baby after doctors successfully thawed his sample a record 22 years later.
Chris Biblis was 16 when doctors told him that he needed radiotherapy that would leave him sterile and recommended before going ahead with the life-saving treatment that they put a sample of his sperm into cryogenic storage for future use.
Now aged 38, he is celebrating the birth of a healthy baby daughter, Stella, who was conceived after scientists injected a defrosted sperm into an egg from his wife, Melodie, and implanted it in her uterus.
The 22-year lapse between storage in April 1986 and conception in June 2008 is a world record, according to specialists at the US fertility clinic who carried out the procedure.
“From my life being saved to being able to create a life, words just can’t describe where we are now,” said Mr Biblis, of Charlotte, North Carolina, who has been free of leukaemia since the age of 18.
“I’ve got this bundle of joy to appreciate. It’s truly a miracle,” he told ABC News.
The case is being hailed as an illustration of how far infertility treatment has advanced in the past two decades and proof that sperm can remain viable for decades if they are preserved in liquid nitrogen. The previous record was 21 years.
The procedure used to create Stella did not even exist when Mr Biblis gave the sample in 1986 during his six-year struggle against leukaemia.
“I was trying to get through high school and, you know, living one day at a time just hoping I was going to make it,” he said.
It was not until 1992 that the method of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) – by which scientists carefully select a healthy sperm cell and insert it into an egg in the laboratory – was successfully pioneered.
The technique carries an increased chance of conception beyond conventional IVF procedures, in which sperm and eggs are mixed in the laboratory to fertilise spontaneously, and was used because only 35 per cent of Mr Biblis’s sperm cells were deemed viable after thawing.
Doctors selected the best of the remaining cells and injected them into ten eggs harvested from Mrs Biblis, of which seven fertilised successfully in the laboratory. Two of the embryos were implanted, though only one survived, and five remain in storage, allowing the couple the option of having more children.
“They achieved pregnancy on their first cycle of ICSI . . . We had every reason to expect a perfect baby but are thrilled nonetheless,” said Richard Wing, a fertility specialist and founder of Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte: “I had no concern about working with old sperm – bovine and equine sperm has been frozen for long periods and has resulted in successful gestations.”