Boy, one, be­comes youngest to have sperm cells frozen

The Sunday Telegraph - - News -

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.

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