Baby Girl born from Embryo Frozen for 24 years


A 26-year-old woman has given birth to a baby girl from a donated embryo which was frozen for 24 years - the longest ever frozen embryo to come to term.

Tina Gibson's baby Emma Wren was conceived and fertilized 24 years ago in 1992, but the embryo was frozen instead of implanted. 

Tina, who was born in 1991, could not conceive naturally with her husband Benjamin, because he has cystic fibrosis, so they decided to adopt a frozen embryo from the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In March this year, the frozen embryo was thawed then transferred to Tina in an identical procedure to IVF.

On November 25, after a normal 40-week pregnancy with no issues, Tina gave birth naturally - with no drugs and a 24-hour labor - to Emma, who weighed six pounds and eight ounces, and measured 20 inches long.

Looking back, the couple from east Tennessee said they were overcome when they found out they could adopt an embryo.

But it wasn't until the morning of the 'transfer' that they found out it was the longest time an embryo had been frozen, ahead of one in Virginia which was frozen for 19 years and a few months.

Speaking to Daily Mail Online, Tina admits that she was taken aback when, on the morning of the transfer, she found out how long the embryo had been frozen. 


'Honestly my I was just really worried that it wouldn't work,' Tina said. 'I was like "I don't want a world record, I want a baby!" But Ben was completely intrigued by it.

'Then later it hit me when they were about to do the transfer. I said, "you know, I'm just 25... me and her, we could've been best friends."' 

Tina and Benjamin met at church, and dated for most of Tina's teens.

They got married seven years ago when Tina was 19 years old and Benjamin was 26, because Benjamin has cystic fibrosis (CF), a fatal respiratory disease with a life expectancy in the 30s, and they didn't want to lose time.

Since fertility is often impossible or highly complicated for CF sufferers, they decided they would adopt. They started fostering children in 2015, which they enjoyed, hosting half a dozen children in one year.

In May, between fostering, they were about to go on a couple's vacation, and Tina's father came round to look after their dog. As they were about to leave, he told them he had just heard about embryo adoption on a news report, meaning they could adopt and have the experience of pregnancy.

'I said, that sounds neat dad but we're really set on adoption,' Tina recalled. 
'Me and Ben had known ever since we started dating that if we were ever going to start a family, we wouldn't be able to have our own children. We had made peace with that, we were happy and excited about adopting a child, and we had loved fostering. So I just said, neat but no.'

And yet, throughout the entire eight-hour car journey they were reeling. 'Both of us couldn't stop talking about it, thinking about it, imagining it,' Tina said. 

'We watched every video, read every article... by the end of the trip we knew everything about it. But still, we decided at the end that we still wanted to do adoption, we didn't know what this was, and we'd spent so long thinking about adoption.'

However, for the next three months, neither could get it out of their heads. 
'We weren't talking about it, but I was thinking about it every day. Then one day I came home and we were eating dinner and I said "I think we need to do the embryo adoption", and Ben said "I know, I've thought about it every day, I can't get it out of my head".'

After exploring their options, they decided they would adopt their embryo through the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, which has led to 700 pregnancies since 2003 - more than any other organization in the world.

As of December 2016, Tina was taking hormonal injections so she could try for a transfer. 

In February, they started the procedure to select their embryo. They were given a book with dozens of potential profiles, listing details of the parents at the time of conception - their weight, height, age, skin color. 

Whittling it down felt impossible, they said. 'We really wanted to do it as soon as possible so were just tearing through them, trying to find anything that could be a no. We're both short, so anyone over six foot was out. Things like that,' Tina said.

After selecting 10, they had to pick three, and put them in order. But their order didn't work; all three need to have been frozen at similar times and been at similar stages of development. The center helped them rejig their selection, putting Emma first.

'I think it shows she was just meant to be ours,' Tina said. 


From dailymail
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