A woman successfully gave birth to a baby girl who originally spent time as a frozen embryo in a lab since 1992. The baby was born last month to Benjamin and Tina Gibson of eastern Tennessee.
Successful Birth From Longest Known Frozen Embryo
Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, a medical director at the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, delivered Emma Wren Gibson on Nov. 25. Emma weighed six pounds and measured twenty inches long.
She had been frozen or cryopreserved since Oct. 14, 1992, which is now considered to be the longest known frozen human embryo that resulted in a successful birth.
Surprisingly, the embryo was conceived just a year and a half after Tina's own birth, which makes it just a year younger than the mother. The embryo was thawed on March 13 and was later implanted in Tina's uterus after two days.
"It is deeply moving and highly rewarding to see that embryos frozen 24.5 years ago using the old, early cryopreservation techniques of slow freezing on day one of development at the pronuclear stage can result in 100 percent survival of the embryos with a 100 percent continued proper development to the day-3 embryo stage," said Carol Sommerfelt, Lab Director at the National Embryo Donation Center.
The Decision To Adopt An Embryo
Before deciding to implant an embryo in Tina's uterus, the Gibsons had first decided to adopt several children and bring them up as their own. They decided to take the adoption route because Benjamin, now the father of the baby, has been suffering from a genetic disorder known as cystic fibrosis, which caused him to become infertile.
Tina's father was the one who suggested the idea of adopting an embryo to his daughter after hearing a news story about it. Tina did not take any interest in the idea at first, however, after doing more research, she and her husband decided to submit an application.
Embryo adoption offers couples hope of having children and also gives women an opportunity to experience pregnancy and give birth. According to the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center, the average cost of adopting an embryo is about $14,000.
Previous Record Holder
Previously, the oldest known frozen human embryo that successfully came to birth was 20 years old. Before that, the oldest successful frozen embryo was 13 years old.
The embryo that came to life after 20 years was born to a 42-year-old woman after being adopted from an anonymous couple. The couple who conceived the baby had completed their own family through in vitro fertilisation or IVF.