Woman, 26, gives birth to baby who spent 24 years as frozen embryo

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – An East Tennessee woman delivered the longest-frozen embryo to successfully come to birth, according to the University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library.

The National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) says baby Emma Wren was born Nov. 25 to Benjamin and Tina Gibson.

Emma was cryopreserved in 1992 before being transferred to Tina’s uterus earlier this year through frozen embryo transfer. Emma was conceived around eighteen months after Tina, 26, was born.

“Emma is such a sweet miracle,” said Benjamin. “I think she looks pretty perfect to have been frozen all those years ago.”

NEDC Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Kennan hopes the story will lead to more couples who have embryos in long-term storage to consider donation to help more families.

The center’s embryo adoption program has led to around 700 pregnancies. The center works to protect the lives of frozen embryos.

“It is deeply moving and highly rewarding to see that embryos frozen 24.5 years ago using the old, early cryopreservation techniques of slow freezing on day one of development at the pronuclear stage can result in 100 percent survival of the embryos with a 100 percent continued proper development to the day-3 embryo stage.” said NEDC Lab Director Carol Sommerfelt.

“I will always remember what the Gibsons said when presented with the 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 continued.Join the discussion on Facebook: