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Second IVF baby for couple using 19 year-old sperm

14 April 2008
Appeared in BioNews 453

A couple from Stockport, Greater Manchester, have conceived a second baby using sperm frozen 19 years ago. Emmanuel and Zoe Iyoha are expecting their second child after receiving IVF treatment using sperm preserved on Mr Iyoha's behalf in 1989.

Mr Iyoha was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and a tumour on his spleen when he was 27 years old. Staff at the Christie Hospital in Manchester warned him that the chemotherapy would leave him infertile and encouraged him to have his sperm frozen so that he would have the option of having children after he recovered. Mr Iyoha expressed his gratitude, saying: 'it was the Christie nurses who persuaded me it was something that I should do and I will be forever grateful to them for this miracle. They must have seen within me the father-in-waiting. At the time, I was far more preoccupied with the cancer'.

Mr Iyoha, a computer expert for the NHS, has had a long battle with his cancer, but is now in remission after suffering a relapse in 1995. He married Zoe, a teacher, in 2002 and the newly-wed couple were only able to consider having children together thanks to the sperm stored at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester. 'We're certainly pretty unlikely to have an unplanned pregnancy after two bouts of chemotherapy' commented My Iyoha.

Freezing sperm is the only chance many men who face chemotherapy at a young age have of preserving their fertility. Unfortunately, however, the technique does not always work, as the sperm may be left too damaged by the freezing and thawing process for IVF to be successful. It took Mr and Mrs Iyoha 12 rounds of IVF treatment including, sadly, one miscarriage before their first child, Poppy Rose, was born in 2006. Remarkably, they have conceived their second child, which is due in July, after just four rounds of IVF.

Mr Iyoha said: 'every time I think about how long it has been since my sperm was frozen I am amazed at the power of science'. He added: 'we owe it all to science and the wonderful care and support of the staff at Christie's and St. Mary's'. In 2004, doctors at St Mary's hospital reported the birth of baby conceived using sperm that had been frozen for 21 years, believed to be the longest reported storage period for sperm successfully used for treatment.

Ice, ice, baby!
The Stockport Express |  11 April 2008
Record as couple wait for baby from sperm frozen 19 years ago
The Daily Telegraph |  11 April 2008
26 February 2008 - by MacKenna Roberts 
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...
26 February 2008 - by MacKenna Roberts 
An increasing number of wives and partners of British soldiers are requesting to have their husbands' sperm frozen before they are deployed abroad to Iraq and Afghanistan, as an 'insurance policy' that will allow them to still have their children even if they are killed or injured...
29 August 2006 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A baby girl has been born using the sperm her father froze 17 years ago before battling against cancer. Emmanuel Iyoha told the Daily Mirror that he 'didn't want to bother saving sperm. I just wanted to concentrate on getting better', but a nurse had persuaded him...
29 May 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
UK newspapers have reported on the story of 'twin' girls born 16 years apart following IVF treatment. Jane and Alan Davis began IVF treatment in March 1989. Thirty-three eggs were collected, and fertilised with Mr Davis' sperm, producing a number of viable embryos. Three were implanted...
14 June 2004 - by Dr Elizabeth Pease 
The unexpected media interest generated in our case report in Human Reproduction (June 2004) merits further expansive discussion. Our overwhelmed couple are delighted that the publicity has given hope to other young cancer patients and drawn attention to success achieved within the National Health Service (NHS), for which the couple...
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