British long-jumper Greg Rutherford has frozen samples of his sperm amid fears about the Zika virus at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.
Rutherford’s girlfriend Susie Verrill has revealed the couple made the decision due to concerns about the disease, which is prevalent in Brazil and known to cause birth defects if contracted by pregnant women.
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.
Rio 2016 organisers, however, insist there is no public health justification for the event not going ahead, insisting on Tuesday the virus poses a ‘very low or no risk’ to athletes and fans.
Rutherford, who won gold at London 2012, has one child, Milo, with Verrill, but the long-jumper’s partner and son will not be travelling to Brazil this summer.
‘The Zika news has caused no end of concern if we’re totally honest,’ Verill wrote in an article for Standard Issue magazine.
‘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.’