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Canadian baby born using 22-year-old frozen sperm

26 February 2008
Appeared in BioNews 446

A Canadian couple successfully conceived a baby boy after using sperm that had been stored 22 years, two months and two weeks - a likely record for Canadian fertility treatment. The longest-known storage period for sperm resulting in a live birth is 28 years, according to a 2005 data report in the American journal Fertility and Sterility.

Jacek was born in Langley, Canada on 1 November 2007 thanks to Mike Kuzminski's discovery that a Calgary clinic, where he had stored sperm years ago prior to cancer treatment which rendered him infertile, had continued to store his sperm despite no contact or payment from Kuzminski in 22 years.

Kuzminski, now a 43-year-old, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma at 18. Because chemo and radiotherapy treatment caused 20 per cent of patients to become infertile in the 1980's - a risk that is significantly lower today - his doctor recommended that Kuzminski freeze his sperm. He did and then underwent three years of on-and-off treatment that led to his later-confirmed infertility. When he and his wife Kristin married in 2003, they had accepted that they would not be able to have children.

Kuzminski had since forgotten he had frozen sperm before his treatment years ago until his sister reminded him. 'I had assumed that after 15 or 20 years the hospital had gotten rid of my sperm', he said but instead surprisingly found that the clinic had kept it and he owed £1,000 in storage fees.

Kuzminski seems to have benefited from Canada's current policy indecision regarding gamete storage time-limit guidelines for abandoned frozen sperm. Dr Albert Yuzpe, co-director of the Vancouver clinic Genesis Fertility Centre, stated that Canadian doctors struggle with what is best to do with abandoned gametes and embryos without a uniform policy. In the UK ,statutory storage and age limits are imposed for frozen gametes. The standard limit is ten years but regulations allow a person who has a medical treatment reason for storing his sperm to be able to extend the storage period up until he turns 55, so long as he was under 45-years-old when he first stored the sperm.

Despite great anxiety regarding use of a limited supply of sperm and low success rates of fertility treatments, Jacek was born after undergoing only two intra-uterine insemination (IUI) procedures. They have enough sperm remaining for 19 more attempts but are focusing on their new parenthood and postponing consideration of whether they will try to have another child.

 

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Baby conceived with sperm frozen long ago
Canada.com |  21 February 2008
'Miracle baby' conceived from 22-year-old sperm
CTV |  21 February 2008
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