A baby boy was born in June of 2015 after being conceived from the world’s oldest sperm. His dad gave the sperm specimen 23 years ago at the age of 15, after receiving a cancer diagnosis and being advised his treatment could make him infertile. After a successful conception from what became the world’s oldest sperm, his new baby made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
At the age of 15, Australian Alex Powell was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Powell was told he needed to start chemotherapy treatment immediately.
By chance, his stepmother, Patricia Powell, had a conversation with a stranger on a train that same day, leading her to suggest he deposit and freeze his semen before undergoing chemo, as the treatment would likely damage his fertility.
— CCTV English (@CCTV_English) December 10, 2015
Being 15 years of age, it was potentially an embarrassing moment when Alex visited the center to give specimens of his sperm, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions of his young life.
Fast-forward 23 years and now his 6-month-old son, Xavier Powell, has made it into the Guinness World Records for being born via a 23-year-old sperm sample, which is the world’s oldest sperm deposit.
It was apparently 20 years after he made the sperm donation that Alex met his wife, Vi. Although the chemotherapy had cleared up his Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he found that he was, as they feared he might be, infertile.
— IVFAdvantage (@IVFAdvantage) December 7, 2015
When the couple decided they wanted to have children in 2013, Alex and Vi began in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment in the hopes of being able to conceive a baby from what turned out to be the world’s oldest sperm.
According to Alex, he was nervous before they started the IVF treatment, saying, “When they bring those guys out, what’s going to happen? Are they all going to turn left?”
As reported by the Mirror Online, after a year of IVF treatment, Xavier was finally conceived and was born on June 17. The baby was a healthy, bouncing baby boy.
In an interview with the Australian news service 9News the proud dad said, “For me, it’s that sort of feeling in life you want to relive every moment if you can.”
While there is technically no upper limit on how long human sperm can be stored, it is reportedly normally used within seven to 10 years. However, prior to Xavier being born, a baby in the U.K. was conceived using sperm frozen for 21 years.
When the story was aired on 60 Minutes in Australia, reporter Allison Langdon said the story is a “powerful reminder of just what can be achieved.”
“This is what we can do, you still get the chance to have a family,” she said.
However, the story is not over yet. Reportedly, the couple is thinking seriously about trying to have a second baby using the same method.
While speaking of the world’s oldest sperm, however, it should be stressed that this was the oldest human sperm. Reportedly, in July, researchers on an Antarctic expedition discovered animal sperm cells dating back around 50 million years.
According to the CS Monitor, Benjamin Bomfleur, a lead author of a report of the finding said the discovery of sperm in a leech cocoon in Antarctica is the oldest record of fossil animal sperm in the geological record.