A dad has fathered a baby using sperm he collected 26 years ago – collected just three days before Euro 96 kicked off.
Peter Hickles, of Colchester, Essex, decided to save the sample aged just 21, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma — a rare form of cancer. But on Thursday, Peter and his fiancé Aurelija Aperaviciute, 32, welcomed baby Kai, who was delivered by caesarean section and weighing 8lb 10oz.
Incredibly Peter, 47, was told his sample would probably only be viable for ten years – and is over the moon to welcome his ‘little miracle.’ The treatment used to treat the cancer can cause permanent infertility.
Speaking to The Sun, Peter, a former Spurs youth player and club season ticket-holder, said: “I keep looking at him shaking my head in disbelief. He really is a little miracle.
“The fact that he was basically ready to go just before Euro 96 and was born before the World Cup is amazing. Football is definitely in his blood. Maybe he’ll see Spurs win the league one day, who knows. “It’s incredible to think he’s been in the deep freeze all this time.”
Peter discovered he had cancer after initially falling unwell while playing for Grays, part of the Isthmian Football League.
Doctors initially thought he was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, which causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the hands, wrists and feet.
But just two weeks after he landed in Australia for a dream year-long holiday, doctors spotted a tumour in his back that was diagnosed as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and he returned home for treatment.
Before he embarked on the gruelling treatment, he made a sperm sample – as doctors feared he would face infertility problems.
Doctors told Mr Hickles to return to the UK for treatment.
He was also advised to make a sperm sample over concerns he would face life-long fertility problems following gruelling chemotherapy.
He said: “It was a bit grotty having to do it. There were magazines left in a cubicle.
“I’ll never forget it — I had to hand the little plastic pot to reception and for some reason it’s always a young woman.
“I had to wait for an hour while they checked the quality so I nipped off for a couple of pints and when I got back they said everything was fine.’
After nine rounds of chemotherapy, he was left with no sperm count – and was warned his sample would wane over the years.
But incredibly after meeting Aurelija and deciding they wanted to have a child, his sperm sample was judged viable and they embarked on IVF.
The treatment cost £30k – and only worked thanks to advancements in technology and changes in laws meaning that sperm can now be successfully stored for up to 55 years.
Aurelija gave birth by caesarean section on October 20 to Kai, who weighed 8lb 10oz – with Peter delighted to meet his son.
Mr Hickles said: ‘I can’t believe he’s arrived now. I’m such a lucky dad.’