This is the miracle baby who was born after her Northampton father’s sperm spent FIVE years in the freezer as he bravely fought cancer.
Sarah and Russell Watson were devastated when he was diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma in August 2012.
Not only was a life threatening battle for survival for Mr Watson but the chemotherapy treatment he would have to endure would put an end to his dreams of becoming a father.
But in the days before the treatment started Mr Watson had his sperm frozen at a fertility clinic, in a hope of becoming a father if he survived the cancer.
He underwent months of chemotherapy treatment to survive. And now, after five years of Mr Watson’s sperm being in the freezer, their baby Molly has been born.
Mr Watson said: ‘It is amazing to be a father at last after everything I have been through. There were times when I worried that I wasn’t going to make it through, let alone be a father.
‘Having Molly now is a dream come true. After all those years she is finally here with us.’
Mr Watson was diagnosed in August 2012 after suffering from a swelling in his throat.
Mrs Watson, 34, a learning development manager, who lives in Northampton with her husband, 41, a maintenance engineer supervisor, said: ‘We thought at first that he had tonsillitis and he had antibiotics but those weren’t working.
‘The GP was amazing and sent him for a biopsy straight away. It showed that he had a very rare form of non Hodgkins lymphoma. It was devastating to hear. We never expected such a diagnosis.
‘He wasn’t feeling unwell with it, so he seemed fit and healthy. We were completely floored by it.’
Mr Watson was told that he needed aggressive chemotherapy treatment and a stem cell transplant in order to survive, as there was a risk the cancer could spread to his brain.
Mrs Watson said: ‘Our main priority was for Russell to survive, but we had talked about started a family soon. The aggressive chemotherapy would make him infertile, so there was no time to lose.’
The couple had Mr Watson’s sperm frozen at Care Fertility clinic in Northampton, before he started his chemotherapy treatment a couple of weeks later.
Mr Watson had chemotherapy until June 2013, and then a stem cell donor from Germany was found for him through the Anthony Nolan register. His stem cell transplant took place in July, on the same day as the couple’s wedding anniversary, at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Mrs Watson said: ‘I was terrified that he wasn’t going to make it, but we just took one day at a time, and he soldiered on through it.’
Once Mr Watson was strong enough to leave hospital he returned home for a long recuperation whilst his new immune system built up. Once he was feeling stronger, their thoughts turned to having a family.
They underwent a course of fertility treatment in September last year, using his sperm frozen all those years ago. The treatment worked, and Mrs Watson discovered she was pregnant two weeks later.
She said: ‘It was thrilling when we had a positive test result showing that I was pregnant. We couldn’t believe it had worked, after Russell’s sperm had been frozen for all that time.’
Her pregnancy went smoothly and baby Molly was born in June, weighing a healthy 7Ib 12.
Mrs Watson said: ‘We couldn’t believe it that we were parents at last after everything that Russell had been through.
‘It was so amazing that he was a father at last. I am so proud of him that he has beaten the cancer and now fulfilled his dream of being a dad.
‘When we look at Molly its so overwhelming that she is actually here with us after everything that has happened. We feel like the luckiest parents in the world.
‘When she is old enough to understand we will tell her of the battle her dad overcame to see her arrive into the world.’
A spokeswoman for Care Fertility said: ‘We are thrilled for this couple, and that Molly has been born after being in the freezing process for all those years.’
Anthony Nolan operates a register for people to sign up as potential stem cell donors - that could end up saving the life of someone with blood cancer. If you are healthy and between the ages of 16 and 30 you can sign up online.
For more information visit www.anthonynolan.org