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Males who have lost their fertility because of cancer could have it restored after testicle tissue is put in deep freeze.
Research suggests it could be defrosted and implanted to start making sperm again — even 20 years later.
The study gives hope to young boys left unable to have kids after radiotherapy or chemo.
The University of Pennsylvania team found thawed testicular tissue worked best when the freezing period was shorter but could still be used after many years.
Dr. Eoin Whelan said: “This could provide a method to recover the loss of fertility in prepubertal boys treated for cancer.
“Our study showed that rat stem cells can be successfully frozen for over 20 years, transplanted into an infertile animal and regenerate the ability to produce sperm, albeit at a reduced rate.”
Around 990 boys under 15 develop cancer every year in the UK and survival is improving but treatments can ruin their fertility.
Men with cancer can bank sperm so they can have a baby by IVF but they may be left unable to make more.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.