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Couple has baby from embryo frozen nearly a quarter century ago

Posted at 5:33 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 17:33:49-05

A Tennessee couple received something of a holiday miracle when they gave birth to a baby conceived almost 25 years ago!

Here’s how it happened. Emma Gibson was frozen as an embryo in 1992. Her birth mother donated the embryo to a faith-based clinic specializing in embryo donation and adoption.

Nearly a quarter-century later, doctors thawed the embryo and donated it to Tina and Benjamin Gibson, who gave birth to a healthy baby girl in November.

So mother and baby were actually conceived within around a year of one another! 

People often freeze more embryos than they need to during fertility treatment, just in case they need them down the road. They can then either dispose of the extras, pay to keep them, donate them to science, or give them to a faith-based group like the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville.

When a couple doing in-vitro wants their baby to have certain characteristics — height, eye color, ethnicity, et cetera — they might try a frozen embryo transfer from a group like the NEDC.

That’s what the Gibsons did in this case.

Lots of women who struggle to conceive turn to fertility treatment as an option. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering it yourself:

  1. Talk to your doctor about your options, and be sure to ask lots of questions.
  2. Do your research. Faith-based groups like the NEDC aren’t for everyone. Screen potential fertility clinics in your area. 
  3. Start early. Experts agree that it becomes more challenging to conceive once you reach your mid- to late thirties. 
  4. Get your rest. Fertility treatment can be a stressful process, so be sure to take appropriate measures to relax your body and mind. 

The procedure is certainly becoming more common.

It’s hard to get exact numbers because fertility clinics keep records private, but groups like the NEDC claim there could be as many as a million frozen embryos currently being stored around the country.

With success stories like the Gibsons', it's likely that more people will turn to frozen embryo transfers as an option going forward.