Boy, one, becomes youngest to have sperm cells frozen
A ONE-YEAR-OLD boy has become the youngest child in Britain to have part of his testicle removed and frozen after chemotherapy threatened to destroy his ability to have children in future.
The research being spearheaded at Edinburgh University has so far treated seven pre-pubescent boys up to the age of 14 since launching last year.
Scientists hope advances in technology will enable them to harvest sperm “stem cells” from the tissue in future and transplant these, or the whole testicle sample, into the boy’s genitals once he is an adult to restore fertility. Anything from 10 to 50 per cent of a testicle is removed for cryopreservation.
Men can easily provide sperm samples, but the immature sexual organs of boys and infants contain only “stem cells” for future sperm. These stem cells can be destroyed during chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Most children who recover from cancer treatment will have no longterm reproductive difficulties. However, researchers want fertility preservation offered on the NHS for boys and girls undergoing aggressive treatments which put them at higher risk of infertility.