KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee woman gave birth last month to a baby girl who was frozen as an embryo in 1992, when her mother was just a year old.
Tina and Benjamin Gibson became the proud parents of Emma Wren on Nov. 25. Emma weighed a healthy 6 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 20 inches long.
According to staff at the University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library, Emma holds the all-time record for the longest-frozen embryo to come to birth.
The Gibsons had Emma through the National Embryo Donation Center, a faith-based embryo adoption program in which couples hoping to conceive are paired with embryos that will not be used by their genetic parents. The NEDC said in a news release that it has received donated embryos from all 50 states, as well as foreign countries.
A "baby counter" on the NEDC website tallies its live births at 686 babies.
Emma was frozen in October 1992, when Tina Gibson, 26, was 18 months old. The embryo was thawed in March of this year and implanted two days later.
"Emma is such a sweet miracle," Benjamin Gibson said, according to the news release. "I think she looks pretty perfect to have been frozen all those years ago."
Carol Sommerfelt, director of the NEDC’s lab, thawed the embryos implanted into Tina Gibson’s uterus. Sommerfelt said it was “deeply moving and highly rewarding” to see embryos frozen using early cryopreservation techniques survive.
"I will always remember what the Gibsons said when presented with a 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," Sommerfelt said.
The organization's website lists its overall pregnancy rate per transfer at 57 percent. About 49 percent of transfers result in live birth.
About three-fourths of the donated embryos survive the freezing and thawing process, the website states.
Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, medical director of the NEDC, said the organization was privileged to help the couple become parents.
"We hope this story is a clarion call to all couples who have embryos in long-term storage to consider this life-affirming option for their embryos," Keenan said.