A Scottish man has broken a world record by using sperm he froze 26 years ago to conceive twins with his partner.
The babies were conceived through IVF in 2010 using the frozen sperm which had been in cold storage for 26 years and 243 days.
The couple became parents to twins, a boy and a girl in 2011. By this time, the Scottish musician was 47 and his partner was 37.
The man who wishes to remain anonymous, was advised by doctors to freeze his sperm at the age of 21, as his subsequent chemotherapy treatment for cancer would render him infertile.
He knew he had broken a world record but didn’t want to tell his story at first. However when he learned he could be anonymously credited in the Guinness Book of World Records, he decided to give a brief interview to The Times.
Speaking about his partner’s role in the process, he said: “It’s quite a big deal for a woman to take that on”. He had told his partner when they met that IVF was the only way they could have a biological child together.
During his interview he said he wanted to highlight how long sperm can be frozen for and said that men who become infertile through illnesses should look into freezing their sperm.
“For people going through chemotherapy, they should keep hope,” he said.
The previous world record holder, Alex Powell, had had his sperm frozen for 23 years before undergoing chemotherapy. Alex was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 15, according to The Mail Online.
Two decades later, he met wife Vi and they began IVF treatment in 2013. After a year of treatment Vi became pregnant and baby Xavier was born in June 2015.
Alex said he was anxious about using the sperm that had been in storage for such a long time.
“There was a bit of nervousness – when they bring those guys out what’s going to happen? Are they all going to turn left?” he said.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority claims frozen sperm can survive for more than 40 years, while Marco Gaudoin, director of the GCRM medical clinic where the twins were conceived, said that frozen sperm could theoretically be stored “indefinitely”.
Sperm must be kept frozen for six months before it can be used for donation as the donor needs to be screened for infections.