UK Boy is First To Have Testicular Tissue Frozen

Nathan Crawford, 9, of Cornwall, should he go on to father children of his own someday, could very well be the first patient ever to do so after having undergone a testicular tissue extraction. The freezing of some of Nathan’s testicular tissue will, doctors hope, allow him to regain fertility in the future after he undergoes chemotherapy and radiation to treat his inoperable brain tumor. The procedure is promising in theory, but remains untested in humans.

Dr Sheila Lane, a consultant paediatric oncologist who is clinical lead for tissue cryopreservation at the John Radcliffe hospital, said the new technique had been shown to work in animals. It is similar to ovarian tissue freezing, which has already produced live births for women who have undergone the procedure.

The idea is that the restored testicular tissue will be accepted by the body and begin to produce hormones again, promoting fertility. If Nathan’s chemotherapy is successful, and the implantation takes, he has a good chance at living a normal life despite the tumor.