New record: Embryo born after more than 27 years of preservation

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • On October 26, Tina and Ben Gibson gave birth to Molly Everette, whose embryo was preserved for more than 27 years, the longest frozen embryo that was born.
  • Prior to Molly’s birth, the Gibson family gave birth to Emma in 2017. Emma’s embryo was frozen for 24 years.
  • The National Embryo Donation Center, the “embryo adoption” facilitator, has aided over 1,000 births since 2003.

According to a research associate at the University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library, a new record was set for the longest-frozen embryo that came to birth. On October 26, Molly Everette Gibson, whose embryo was frozen over 27 years ago, was born to parents Tina and Ben Gibson.

National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) marketing and development director Mark Mellinger told PEOPLE that it was “pretty amazing.”

“Molly was conceived and frozen 28 years ago, only a year and a half after Tina herself was born,” he said.

According to Mellinger, Molly’s embryo was donated to the center and was made available for adoption to other families.

Typically, couples who donated their created embryos are those who feel that they’ve already done enough to grow their families but don’t want it to be in vain.

In a press release, the NEDC said that Molly’s embryo was conceived by another couple for IVF which was frozen on October 14, 1992. After 27 years, the embryo was defrosted on February 10 and was transferred to Tina’s uterus by NEDC president and medical director Dr. Jeffrey Keenan.

“I think this is proof positive that no embryo should ever be discarded, certainly not because it is ‘old,’” Keenan said.

Having been fostering children in the past, and since Ben was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a disease that could result in infertility, the Gibson couple thought that it was the most suitable way of building their family.

Tina’s firstborn child, Emma, whose embryo was preserved for over 24 years, was born in 2017. According to the NEDC, both Emma and Molly’s embryos were frozen in 1992.

“When Tina and Ben returned for their sibling transfer, I was thrilled that the remaining two embryos from the donor that resulted in Emma Wren’s birth survived the thaw and developed into two very good quality embryos for their transfer,” NEDC lab director and embryologist Carol Sommerfeldt said.

In 2017, Tina then told CNN: “Do you realize I’m only 25? This embryo and I could have been best friends. I just wanted a baby. I don’t care if it’s a world record or not.”

Before Molly, Emma’s embryo held the longest embryo preservation before being born. CNN reported back then that ahead of Emma’s birth, the longest known embryo that was successfully born was at 20 years of age.

Since 2003, the NEDC facilitated over 1,000 births via embryo adoption, with the objective of protecting “the lives and dignity of frozen embryos that would not be used by their genetic parents and to help other couples build the families they have longed for via donated embryos.”

Source: PEOPLE.com

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