A baby has been born after being cryopreserved for 24 years. This makes the baby the longest-frozen embryo, who was conceived, ever in history.
Tina Gibson and her husband, Benjamin, welcomed Emma Wren on Nov. 25 at the National Embryo Donation Centre (NEDC) in Tennessee, after being frozen as an embryo on Oct. 14, 1992.
Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, medical director of the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC), performed the frozen embryo transfer.
Carol Sommerfelt, the NEDC lab director, said she could not get the Gibsons' first reactions to their newborn out of her head.
In an interview with The Independent, Sommerfelt said, "I will always remember what the Gibsons said when presented with the picture of their embryos at the time of transfer: 'These embryos could have been my best friends,' as Tina herself was only 25 at the time of transfer."
The first American baby born from a frozen embryo was in 1986 in Los Angeles. Based on a 2003 study, the National Fertility Support Center reported that "over 400,000 cryopreserved embryos [are] being stored in medical clinics across the United States." That number jumped up to 600,000 in more recent times, reports the centre, with the number of donated cryopreserved embryos increasing by 25 per cent, as reported by The Independent.
This technology enabled the Gibsons to forge a new path in their lives and make their mark in history,
"Emma is such a sweet miracle... I think she looks pretty perfect to have been frozen all those years ago," noted proud dad Benjamin.
During their interview with CNN, Tina and Benjamin spoke of getting married seven years ago, but with Benjamin having cystic fibrosis, the pair understood their chances of fertility were low. Rather than let that deter them, the couple decided to look into adoption and became the foster parents of multiple children.
It would be Tina's father who would recommend cryopreservation, an idea Tina initially blew off before her curiosity settled in. After discussion, the pair went through with the application and years later, Emma was born.
When asked by CNN if the pair would attempt childbirth with Tina's last two embryos, the mother said no. "After having natural childbirth, I'm like, 'I'm never doing that again!'... But I'm sure in like a year, I'll be like, 'I want to try for another baby.'"
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