Fertility pioneer’s work recognised in honours list
Former Heptonstall man Jackson Kirkman-Brown has received an award in the New Year Honours list for his fertility work, some of which has given hope of fatherhood to servicemen who have suffered blast injuries as a result of war.
Dr Kirkman-Brown, 38, was appointed MBE and is now awaiting another momentous milestone - the birth in spring of the first baby to be born as a result of his pioneering scientific work.
More troops who have suffered traumatic injuries in conflicts such as the Afghan war are now surviving as a result of the care they receive at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, said Dr Kirkman-Brown.
But those with severe genital injuries might have been robbed of the chance to have children without the work of Dr Kirkman-Brown, a researcher at the University of Birmingham, who works closely with military casualties at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM), based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE).
Dr Kirkman-Brown, director at the Centre for Human Reproductive Science, Birmingham, said: “We have members of the armed forces surviving now who would have died a few years ago but some of their injuries affected their fertility. The relevant question was - could they have children?
“I put together a team and we effectively invented an operation which we could carry out in the few days after the blast injury.”
Although the servicemen’s bodies might not have been able to make sperm any more, the new operation meant the team was able to salvage and store sperm that existed prior to injury.
University of Birmingham researcher Dr Kirkman-Brown added: “It is a credit to the entire team at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital, QE, RCDM and the university that our work has been recognised in this way. We look forward to the first child being born as a result of our work, which is due in early 2013.”
Dr Kirkman-Brown was educated at Riverside School, Hebden Bridge and later at Crossley Heath School, Halifax. His parents, Jennifer and Carl Brown, and his brother StJohn still live in Heptonstall.
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