Milton Keynes’ own Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford is set to have his sperm frozen, because of health fears ahead of this summer’s Brazil Games.
Rutherford’s girlfriend Susie Verrill has revealed the couple made the decision due to concerns about Zika virus, which is prevalent in Brazil and known to cause birth defects in pregnant women.
The couple already have one child, but neither Susie nor son Milo will be travelling to Brazil.
Writing in the Evening Standard, she said: “The Zika news has caused no end of concern if we’re totally honest.
“We’re not ones to worry unnecessarily, but after more than 100 medical experts stressed the Games should be moved to prevent the disease from spreading, this was a huge factor in us choosing to stay put.
“We’ve also made the decision to have Greg’s sperm frozen. We’d love to have more children and with research in its infancy, I wouldn’t want to put myself in a situation which could have been prevented.”
Milton Keynes-based Greg won Olympic Gold in the 2012 Games. As well as coming back a national hero he was subsequently featured on a Royal Mail stamp, while two post boxes in Milton Keynes were painted gold in his honour.
Debate has raged over the health risks associated with the Zika virus.
Last month, 150 health experts signed an open letter to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urging the Games to be moved or delayed because of the outbreak.
But the Olympic organisers insist there is no public health justification for the event not going ahead, insisting that the virus poses a “very low or no risk” to athletes and fans.