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5 February 2011, 00:00 | Updated: 16 February 2011, 14:54
Neil Fitch has beaten the odds to become a dad after undergoing chemotherapy.
The 30 year old from Wivenhoe was diagnosed with bowel cancer 3 years ago.
Before he began a seven-month programme of chemotherapy, which can damage fertility, he was told that the quality of his sperm was low and later, after he had finished chemotherapy in June 2009, his own GP told him he was unlikely ever to be a parent without IVF.
But last April, on their honeymoon in north Norfolk, his wife was shocked to find that she was pregnant.
Neil, a maintenance worker for Network Rail, said: “We got married at Colchester Register Office on 17 April and two days later on the drive up to Norfolk, Bec felt tired and sick.
“This continued on the honeymoon so we bought a pregnancy testing kit and were shocked when we found she was pregnant.
“At the time it felt a bit surreal – what with planning for the wedding, we’d never even discussed IVF and I think we had both accepted we would only ever be an uncle and aunt, and never parents.”
Neil and Bec, who have been together for 10 years, are now getting used to being parents at their home in Spring Chase following the arrival of baby Poppy at Colchester General Hospital on 19 December, weighing 8lb 1oz.
Dr Bruce Sizer, a consultant oncologist based at Essex County Hospital, is one of the team at Colchester Hospital Trust who has cared for Neil.
“He was exceptionally young to be diagnosed with bowel cancer and at the time when he was first brought to us the outlook was extremely grim, so he has come a long way in a relatively short space of time,” he said.
“Becoming a parent for the first time is always special but especially so for Neil when you consider the seemingly insurmountable odds he has had overcome.
“Given what he has gone through, I am sure that he will appreciate fatherhood even more than most new dads.
“He’s a lovely lad and we all wish him and his wife – and, of course, Poppy – the very best.”