Man given 5% chance of becoming a father after battling testicular cancer twice celebrates his son's first Christmas
Huw Allanson, 26, lost a testicle and had several gruelling rounds of chemo after being diagnosed Told he and fiance Lizi had just 5% chance of conceiving naturally due to poor quality spermBut just a week before starting IVF, realised they had conceived naturallyBaby Ryan was born in April this year
14:49 GMT, 27 December 2012
From the moment he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, Huw Allanson had feared his dream of becoming a father would never come true.
Having battled testicular cancer twice – losing his left testicle and having nine rounds of chemotherapy in the process – he was told his chances of becoming a father were just five per cent.
But this year, he’s had more to celebrate than most. Incredibly, just a week before he and his fianc Lizi, 32, were due to start IVF, they discovered they had managed to conceive naturally and their son Ryan was born in in April this year.
Huw Allanson and his fiance Lizi were given just a five per cent chance of conceiving naturally after he battled testicular cancer twice. Their son Ryan was born earlier this year
‘It has been an amazing year,’ Huw, 27, told MailOnline. ‘One of my biggest ambitions in life was to have a family, but I was always concerned it would never happen.’
Huw was just 18 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After noticing a lump on his left testicle, he was referred to a specialist for an ultrasound test which confirmed the lump was cancerous and his testicle would need to be removed.
He said: ‘I have always wanted to be a dad but there wasn’t much time to think about everything at the time – I was diagnosed on the Friday and had surgery on the Monday. Afterwards, I went away, assuming that was it and tried to get on with my life.'
Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Just
three months later, he received the devastating news the cancer was back
– and, even worse, had spread to his stomach. 'It was terrifying to be
told it had come back and I was pretty scared,' said Huw.
To battle the cancer, Huw needed nine gruelling rounds of intensive chemotherapy at Charing Cross Hospital.
My First Christmas: Baby Ryan opening his stocking
'The best present ever': Huw, with Ryan, now nine months old
after being warned this could affect his fertility, he decided to have
his sperm frozen at Hammersmith Hospital as a preventive measure.
The chemotherapy dragged on for months and sucked the life out of Huw as he had a terrible reaction to it, suffering severe nausea and vomiting and extreme fatigue.
Thankfully he responded well to the treatment and was put in remission in 2004. Today, he only requires yearly check-ups.
Ryan celebrating his first Christmas with mother Lizi
Part of his treatment included taking
the drug cisplatin, a drug developed in conjunction with Cancer
Research UK, which has transformed the outlook of men with advanced
When he met his fiance Lizi at a friend's birthday drinks four years ago, the couple, who live in Lingfield, Surrey, quickly decided they wanted to start a family.
But after nearly year of trying, they were worried something was wrong as Lizi still wasn’t pregnant.
mentioned at one of my yearly cancer check-ups that we’d been trying
for a baby, with no luck,’ recalls Huw, who now works for a telecoms
And after tests on
Huw’s sperm, the couple were devastated to learn they had only a 5 per
cent chance of conceiving naturally due to the quality.
to try and have a family of their own, they decided to have fertility
treatment and, after a lengthy struggle, eventually managed to get it on
Amazingly, nine days before they were due to start IVF, Lizi discovered she was six weeks pregnant.
never forget that day – we were absolutely elated,’ said Huw. ‘I was
obviously delighted that I was going to be a father but I was also happy
for Lizi that she didn’t have to go through some of the unpleasant
procedures that IVF involves. We’d been to a talk about it and it didn’t
sound very nice.’
April 6th this year, Ryan was born after a natural birth weighing 7lb
4oz. ‘He’s a very healthy and happy baby,’ says Huw. ‘He’s got Lizi’s
mouth and nose and my hair at the moment!
day he was born was one of the best days of my life – I’d been so
excited for the nine months before his arrival and couldn’t believe he
was finally here.
'The day he was born was one of the best days of my life – I couldn't believe he was finally here,' says Huw
‘I have always wanted to be a dad and we will definitely try and have another child. After the years of cancer treatment and trying for him, having him here this Christmas was the best present ever.'
According to Cancer Research UK, a survey of men treated between 1982 and 1992 showed that 77 per cent were able to father a child and another five per cent 5 out of 100 did so after having fertility treatment.
The biggest risk to fertility is chemotherapy, but even then about 70 per cent of men are able to father children.
Martin Ledwick, Head of the Cancer Research UK Information Nurse team said: ‘It is great reading about Huw’s story. It’s not inevitable that testicular cancer patients will lose their fertility and even if they do it can come back.
'It is also good to talk to the doctor about the possibility of sperm banking before treatment starts. We have information about all aspects of testicular cancer on our website. Or if anyone has questions about any aspect of cancer and its treatment they can call Cancer Research UK’s nurses on 0808 800 4040.’
Huw is taking part in Cancer Research UK’s new brand campaign which highlights the power of research in beating cancer. Visit cruk.org