https://www.the-sun.com/health/6527079/dad-miracle-baby-sperm-sample-1996-cancer/

A DAD has fathered a baby — using sperm collected just three days before Euro 96 kicked off.

Peter Hickles, 47, gave the sample on June 5, 1996, after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 21.

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A dad has fathered a miracle baby using a sperm sample he gave 26 years agoCredit: Louis Wood
Baby Kai was conceived after the pair paid £30,000 for IVF treatment, using Peter's sperm sample from the 90s

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Baby Kai was conceived after the pair paid £30,000 for IVF treatment, using Peter’s sperm sample from the 90s

But on Thursday — more than 26 years later — Peter and his fiancé Aurelija Aperaviciute, 32, welcomed baby Kai, delivered by caesarean section and weighing 8lb 10oz.

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 was in the Spurs youth set-up at the age of ten but was released at 15 and went on to play for Dagenham and Redbridge and Grays Athletic.

He became unwell when he was with Isthmian League side Grays and doctors at first thought he had rheumatoid arthritis.

Two weeks after travelling to Australia for a year’s holiday, doctors found a tumour in his back caused by Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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They told him to fly home so he could have the support of family and friends while having chemo.

But before the treatment he visited a hospital to give a sperm sample on the advice of doctors.

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.”

Euro 96 kicked off at the same time and three days later England drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their opening match of the tournament.

They were knocked out in the semi-final by Germany when Gareth Southgate fluffed his spot-kick in an infamous penalty shoot-out.

In that year, a pint of beer cost an average of just £1.23, John Major was Prime Minister and EastEnders favourite Arthur Fowler collapsed and died in his allotment.

Dad Peter Hickles when he was having chemo when he played for Spurs youth team

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Dad Peter Hickles when he was having chemo when he played for Spurs youth team

Peter started nine gruelling rounds of chemotherapy and, although the treatment was tough, he managed to watch a few games down the pub with his mates.

He said: “I watched a lot of it on TV — the highlight was the Gazza goal against Scotland where he chipped the defender and then . . . back of the net. That’s the one everyone remembers.”

When he gave his sample his sperm was expected to have a shelf-life of just ten years.

But, medical advances meant doctors were able to improve its viability.

Peter said: “After the chemo-therapy I was left with no sperm count which is something many male cancer sufferers experience.

“When I got together with Aurelija we wanted a child but knew it would be difficult. I’m incredibly lucky to have her.

“Luckily, the sperm sample was judged to be viable so we decided to give IVF a go.”

Kai was conceived after the pair paid £30,000 for IVF treatment.

Medics retrieved Peter’s sperm sample which had been kept in a freezer at University College Hospital in London.

Peter, who runs a landscaping and surfacing business near his home in Colchester, Essex, said: “I can’t believe he’s arrived now. I’m such a lucky dad.”

It was close to the longest gap between sperm collected and birth — a couple in America hold the world record by having a baby using a 27-year-old sample.

Baby Kai is now at home and the proud dad says he cannot wait to watch Harry Kane’s men in next month’s World Cup with his son.

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Peter says some of his sperm is still left if he and his fiancée want a brother or sister for Kai.

He added: “It’s a bridge we’ve not crossed yet. Kai is only just a few days old. Let’s see what happens in the World Cup first.”

Ice start

DURING IVF, an egg is harvested from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory.

The fertilised egg, or embryo, is then returned to the woman’s womb where it can grow to maturity.

Couples can get IVF on the NHS and it is available in private clinics but one cycle of treatment typically costs up to £5,000.

As with Peter, sperm or eggs are frozen after being collected from young people who are at risk of infertility.

It is rare for the gap between collection and birth to be as long as in Peter’s case — but in 2011 a Glasgow musician, who also waited 26 years, became the father of twins.

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