In a medical-first, a Tennessee (US) based couple has welcomed a baby girl who grew from an embryo that had been frozen for 24 years. Emily’s birth also sets a world record by being the longest frozen embryo to result in a successful birth. This achievement by doctors makes the child and birth mother technically only a year apart, in terms of conception.
Weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and measuring 20 inches long, newborn Emma holds the all-time record for longest-frozen embryo ever born, according to US National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC).
Back in 1992, Emily’s embryo was donated by a family in the US, and remained frozen, awaiting a couple willing to adopt it. In August 2016, Benjamin and Tina Gibson contemplated embryo adoption, and by December the couple were en route to being matched with an embryo. The baby girl, who is in good health, was thawed in March and transferred to mother Tina Gibson’s uterus.
On embryo adoption process, Tina Gibson said it was a strange experience but they were able to narrow down their selection from about 300 possible embryo donations to just one: Emily. They later learned for how long each fertilized egg had been frozen.
Gibson told CNN:
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“Do you realize I’m only 25? This embryo and I could have been best friends.”
“Emma is such a sweet miracle. I think she looks pretty perfect to have been frozen all those years ago. We’re just so thankful and blessed. She’s a precious Christmas gift from the Lord. We’re just so grateful.”
Despite not sharing genes, Benjamin, 33, said that Emma feels completely like his own child. It has been seven years since the Gibsons got married, but conceiving could be difficult since Benjamin had cystic fibrosis which can make men infertile.
An embryo that is frozen in storage and preserved for potential future birth is called a “snowbaby.” Before the birth of baby Emma, the longest-known successful snowbaby birth was from a 20-year-old frozen embryo.
The remarkable success achieved in Emma’s case can provide huge support to those families who really have been struggling with infertility.