Baby Born from Oldest Frozen Embryo

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Baby Born from 27-year-old frozen embryo
Source: NEDC

Molly Gibson, a 2-month-old, has set a new record after being born from an embryo frozen in 1992.

After struggling with infertility for years, Tina and Ben Gibson decided to look into adopting a child. However, a phone call from Tina’s parents made them consider embryo adoption. They then contacted the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) in Tennessee. The NEDC stores unused embryos from patients who have undergone IVF (in vitro fertilization). The embryo is frozen and stored till an adoptive parent is found for donation.

In 2017 the Gibson’s eldest daughter, Emma, was born using a 24-year-old embryo. The longest-frozen embryo at the time. However, her sister Molly Everette Gibson, has now broken that record.

The 27-year-old Frozen Embryo

In February of this year, Tina Gibson underwent implantation with a 27-year-old frozen embryo. Thus, Molly was born. According to the NEDC, Molly’s is the world’s oldest embryo to have resulted in a live birth. Both Emma and Molly are genetic siblings as both the embryos were donated and frozen together in 1992.

With old embryos the question arises whether they are viable or not. There is currently no evidence of old embryos resulting in children with abnormalities. However, frozen embryos from the 1980s are generally met with suspicion due to the freezing technique used back then.

As long as the embryos are maintained correctly in the liquid nitrogen storage tank at minus 396 degrees, we feel they may be good indefinitely.

Carol Sommerfelt, director and embryologist at NEDC

The Gibson girls are both medical marvels. Furthermore, their births lend credibility to the viability of old embryos.

Where did the Snowbaby come from?

Snowbaby is a term used for describing a frozen embryo with a potential of live birth.

Around 15% to 20% of the time IVF results in additional embryos. Generally not required by the couple as they feel their family is complete. Therefore, the embryos are frozen and stored for donation. Before a frozen embryo can be implanted into the uterus of an adoptive parent, it is thawed. Approximately 75% of the embryos survive the thawing and transfer process.

This definitely reflects on the technology used all those years ago and its ability to preserve the embryos for future use under an indefinite time frame

Carol Sommerfelt, director and embryologist at NEDC
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