The longest known frozen human embryo to result in a successful birth was born last month in Tennessee.
Emma Wren Gibson, delivered November 25 by Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, medical director of the National Embryo Donation Center, is the result of an embryo originally
Emma’s parents, Tina and Benjamin Gibson of eastern Tennessee, admit feeling surprised when they were told the exact age of the embryo thawed March 13 by Carol Sommerfelt, embryology lab director at the National Embryo Donation Center.
“Do you realize I’m only 25? This embryo and I could have been best friends,” Tina Gibson said.
Today, Tina, now 26, explained, “I just wanted a baby. I don’t care if it’s a world record or not.”
Sommerfelt said the birth is “pretty exciting considering how long the embryos had been frozen.” Previously, the oldest known frozen embryo that came to successful birth was 20 years old.
Weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces and measuring 20 inches long, Emma is a healthy baby girl, and that’s the only thought on her parents’ minds.
“We’re just so thankful and blessed. She’s a precious Christmas gift from the Lord,” Tina said. “We’re just so grateful.”
Despite not sharing genes, Benjamin, 33, said that Emma feels completely like his own child. “As soon as she came out, I fell in love with her,” he said.
Emma’s story begins long before the Gibsons “adopted” her (and four sibling embryos from the same egg donor). Created for in vitro fertilization by another, anonymous couple, the embryos had been left in storage so they could be used by someone unable or unwilling to conceive a child naturally.
These are “snowbabies,” lingering in icy suspension, potential human lives waiting to be born.