RSC patient & lymphoma survivor celebrates
Fatherhood doubly special this year for Berkeley Ironman athlete who beat advanced cancer & then became a parent a second time with five-year-old frozen sperm
SAN RAMON, California (May 25, 2011) – For Christophe Job, 49, of Berkeley, Father’s Day is doubly special this year with the recent arrival of a second son to help him celebrate a double victory against long odds: beating advanced cancer and twice becoming a parent.
Cancer free since 2006, Christophe celebrates this Father’s Day with his wife, Kerry, 39, and sons Quentin, eight months old, and three-year-old Colin, who were both born with his frozen sperm in combination with in vitro fertilization (IVF).
“Thanks to the miracle of medical science, we didn’t have to throw away our dreams of having children,” Christophe said. Colin, born June 14, 2008, and his brother Quentin, born September 21, 2010, were created with their mother’s eggs and father’s thawed sperm at the Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area (RSC) under the guidance of Louis Weckstein, M.D., Medical and IVF Director.
Nearly five years ago, Christophe was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Although having a family was far from his mind prior to the diagnosis, he froze his sperm before treatment began, since chemotherapy would render him infertile.
For Colin’s birth, RSC’s team of physicians and scientists combined fresh eggs retrieved from Kerry with the sperm Christophe had frozen two years prior. Kerry’s unused eggs were combined with Christophe’s sperm to make 12 frozen embryos that were stored in the lab, one of which would become Quentin a little more than two years later.
At RSC, the rate of pregnancy success from frozen embryos is over 50 percent, way above the national average. The latest statistics gathered from members of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) show the average pregnancy success rate from thawed embryos was 30 percent.
Just eight months after his 2006 wedding, Christophe, an athletic and vital Oracle executive, struggled with persistent flu-like symptoms, weight loss, and fatigue. When blood analysis revealed advanced Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, his doctors were emphatic that he begin chemotherapy as soon as possible. Since the Jobs planned a family some day, Christophe banked his sperm before undergoing six months of chemo.
Both cancer and cancer treatments can cause infertility in men and women. Chemotherapy is designed to kill rapidly dividing cells throughout the body, while leaving other cells intact. Cancer cells divide rapidly, but so do egg and sperm cells. In general, the higher the dose and longer the treatment, the greater the chances of reproductive problems.
“We were confident that Christophe’s sperm would fertilize well,” said Weckstein. “Some men have fathered perfectly healthy babies using sperm that has been frozen as long as 23 years. The technology has come along since the first child was born from semen stored for over one year in 1973.” The rate of pregnancy success using Kerry’s frozen embryos stored after her first IVF cycle is just as good as fresh embryos, he added.
RSC has worked extensively with both male and female cancer patients, who have several options to preserve their fertility prior to chemo, radiation, or surgery for cancer, such as freezing (cryopreservation) of eggs, sperm, and embryos, ovarian suppression, use of donor egg and embryos, as well as gestational carriers or surrogates.
After an aggressive course of chemotherapy, Christophe “wanted to be healthier than he was before the cancer,” Kerry said, and so he trained for and completed two Ironman Triathlon competitions. Kerry was seven months pregnant with Colin when Christophe completed his first Ironman in April 2008.