A NINE-year-old boy with a brain tumour is the first Briton to have testicular tissue frozen in the hope he can father children later in life.
Nathan Crawford, from Bude, Cornwall, needs chemotherapy to shrink an inoperable brain tumour but it could render him infertile.
In a groundbreaking procedure, surgeons at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford removed a wedge of tissue from his testicle with the aim of re-implanting it.
Nathan has a non-cancerous tumour in the cells supporting the nerves of his brain.
It is so close to vital tissue, doctors are unable to remove it without causing damage.
Nathan and his family
Nathan’s stepfather, Jonathan Alison, said they first knew something was wrong in Januar
Nathan and his brother
Nathan Crawford, right, plays with his younger brother Ned Alison at their home in Bude, Cornwall
Before chemotherapy, Nathan had keyhole surgery in which his testicular tissue was removed.
It contains sperm stem cells, which remain viable when slow-frozen.
His stepfather Jonathan Alison, 34, said they first knew something was wrong in January.
He said: “Nathan had headaches and blurry vision. We took him to the optician who sent us to the doctor.”
Nathan’s mother Donna Hunt, 31, said: “Nathan loves children. We told him this would increase the chance he can have his own.”
Paediatric oncologist Dr Sheila Lane said the technique had worked in animals, adding: “When you put tissue back, it generates blood supply, producing hormones which restore fertility.”
Nathan is “coping well” and in his second round of chemotherapy.