Little Emma Wren Gibson entered the world on November 25 but her parents conceived her by adopting an embryo that was frozen for 24 years. Making it the oldest frozen embryo to successfully result in a healthy newborn baby – and in a funny turn of events, had she been implanted by her genetic parents, she would be nearly the same age as her birth mum.
A couple’s struggle to conceive
Tina Gibson from Tennessee in the United States was unable to conceive a baby naturally as her husband Benjamin has cystic fibrosis, a condition that, among other things, can cause infertility. The couple were about to look into adoption when they found out about the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) in Knoxville.
The NEDC is a faith-based organisation that helps reproductively challenged couples become parents by providing frozen embryos left over from IVF procedures that won’t be used by their genetic parents. They supplied the couple with their fully fertilised ‘Emma-bryo’ which was thawed out on March 13 and then implanted in 25-year-old Tina.
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) December 19, 2017
Emma Wren Gibson is now one month old and her parents are pleased as punch, despite her unusual journey to being born.
“We could have been friends”
The new mum said she was originally shocked when she learned she’d be carrying an embryo that was around the same age as herself.
“Do you realize I’m only 25? This embryo and I could have been best friends,” she told CNN when Emma was born.
Once the couple got their head around this slightly mind-blowing fact, they were completely on board and are now blissfully happy with their precious new bub who arrived just in time for Christmas.
“Emma is such a sweet miracle,” new dad Benjamin added. “I think she looks pretty perfect to have been frozen all those years ago.”
Emma is in fact the oldest known frozen embryo that has resulted in a successful birth. Having been frozen since October, 1992f. The previous record holder gave birth to a healthy baby using a 20-year-old embryo.
While new mum Tina, who has since turned 26, thinks their conception story is a unique one, she says she is not at all concerned with breaking world records and when they signed up to the embryo adoption program, her only desiring was to become a mum.
“I just wanted a baby. I don’t care if it’s a world record or not,” she said.
— WBIR Channel 10 (@wbir) December 19, 2017
Hope for others
The embryo donation centre has helped nearly 700 women conceive to date, and the doctor who performed the embryo transfer is now hoping that Emma’s story will inspire other parents who might have saved embryos to donate to their cause.
“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,” said Dr. Jeffrey Keenan in a statement.
Little Emma is also a wonderful example of the what modern medicine is able to achieve, and a shining beacon of hope for all those couples out there desperately trying to conceive and are unaware that embryo adoption is a viable option. To find out more about embryo donation in Australia head to the Embryo Donation Network.
Congratulations Gibson family! What a wonderful Christmas gift.