Fusilier Shaun Stocker was only 19-years-old when his Afghanistan tour was cut short after he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in April 2010. The explosion caused the soldier to lose his sight, his legs, his testicles and the hope of becoming a father. However, thanks in part to pioneering British scientists, Shaun Stocker became a father on Christmas Day 2015.
Shaun Stocker has said he could not be prouder of the moment he and his fiancée welcomed their first child, son Theo, into the world. The new father says the newborn “is the son I never thought I’d be able to have.” Shaun’s fiancée, Persia Haghighi spent 3 hours in labor with Shaun right at her side to deliver an 8 pound, 7 ounce Theo on Christmas day at 4:44 p.m. The Daily Mail reported that the soldier insisted on being the one to cut the umbilical cord for his son.
“That was such a proud moment. I’m so proud of Persia. She was brilliant. Theo is the son I never thought I’d be able to have and it is all because of the brilliance of Dr Jackson Kirkman-Brown. For me personally, Theo’s arrival marks the conclusion of my rehabilitation.”
Fusilier Shaun Stocker was with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh Regiment, in 2010 when he suffered the life threatening injuries on the front lines of the battle. In order to improve his chances of survival by giving his body the chance to heal doctors put him in an induced coma and it was during those first critical 48 hours that the techniques of Dr. Jackson Kirkman-Brown gave Stocker the chance to have Theo. Doctors used a revolutionary new technique called sperm salvage to retrieve sperms from deep inside the man’s body, despite the fact that his testicles had been taken by the explosion. They were able to take healthy sperm from a tube called the vas deferens, which is deep enough within the body to have been protected against even the critical injuries that the soldier had suffered.
The pioneering technique Dr. Kirkman-Brown and his colleagues launched from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, was done so six years ago and prior to this the only way for soldiers who lost their testicles in explosions to conceive children was if they had already frozen their sperm before going to war. Shaun had not frozen his sperm and once he emerged from the coma and realized he had lost his testicles he had despaired.
“There was nothing where my testicles were supposed to be. I was single then and I doubted any woman would want to be with me. Not having any sperm in a sperm bank, I figured my chances of having children had gone.”
His outlook changed to a more hopeful one when Dr. Kirkman-Brown told him about the procedure. Since the explosion in Afghanistan, Shaun has undergone over 50 operations, five of which the Mirror reported, led to doctors recovering 30 percent of the vision in his right eye.
Shaun and Persia met through mutual friends and became engaged in September 2014 with plans to get married in June. Persia became pregnant after the very first round of IVF treatment the couple underwent, and when they were given a due date of Christmas Day, they were reportedly ecstatic.
The couple gave their Christmas Day miracle baby the middle name Jackson, after the doctor who made his existence possible, and planned to carry him to visit his namesake soon. The couple also plan to have more children using Shaun’s frozen sperm and IVF in the future. Persia says she wants Theo to have brothers and sisters.
“As soon as he was born, I said to Shaun, ‘I want more.’ Four children would be a nice number if we’re lucky enough.”
Fusilier Shaun Stocker has spent the last 12 months getting ready to take part in a 60-mile charity walk on behalf of Blind Veterans U.K., in March. He will be walking 100 km on double above-knee prosthetic limbs. The soldier has started a fundraising page on the Just Giving website to help reach his goal of £50,000 and has thus far has raised over £15,000.
To donate to Shaun’s charity walk you can visit justgiving.com/shaunstocker.
[Photo via Nate Derrick/Shutterstock]