Tennessee couple Tina and Benjamin Gibson had talked about ‘adopting’ a baby from donated eggs, and this year they finally took the plunge. But they weren’t told the exact age of the embryo they selected until it was implanted in March - and amazingly, it had been frozen since 1992, which is a year after Tina herself was born.
Healthy baby girl Emma Wray Gibson was born this November, weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces and measuring 20 inches long.
CNN reported that Tina, 26, and husband Benjamin, 33, were overjoyed to have a baby - “We’re just so thankful and blessed. She’s a precious Christmas gift from the Lord”.
The Gibsons have been married seven years and, after realising Benjamin’s cystic fibrosis would impact their chances of conceiving, they were prepared to adopt early on. Tina’s dad told her about embryo adoption and within weeks she was ready to fill in an application form to undergo the procedure.
It’s not known whether this was the oldest frozen embryo to result in successful childbirth. CNN cites Dr Zaher Merhi, director of IVF research and development at New Hope Fertility Center, who said: “Identifying the oldest known embryo is simply an impossibility”.
It was Carol Sommerfelt, embryology lab director at the National Embryo Donation Center, who told the couple how old their donated embryo was. She had unthawed three ‘snowbabies’, all of them adopted from the same anonymous donor, and all three had survived (this came as a surprise, given that the survival rate when unthawing frozen embryos usually sits at around 75%).
All three embryos were transferred to Tina, but (as is commonly the case) only one implanted. The transfer “worked out perfect,” Tina said. “It’s a miracle. First time.”
Image: Rex Features