A Tennessee couple once again broke the record for having the longest-frozen embryo to be birthed when they welcomed their daughter Molly this October.
Tina and Ben Gibson used a process called embryo-adoption, which allows hopeful parents to receive donated embryos, they told NBC News on Wednesday. Molly is the couple’s second successful embryo adoption with the National Embryo Donation Center; daughter Emma was born in 2017 from a 24-year-old embryo.
Though it’s not the path she expected when seeking to start a family, Tina Gibson said that being a mother to her two girls is “such a miracle.” The process was a “leap of faith” for her after a struggle with infertility.
“I was so scared to open up my heart to the potential of having a pregnancy,” Tina Gibson said. “I was so scared it wouldn't work. And then it would just be ripped away from me again.”
She also said that her experience made her more grateful for her children.
The clinic staff is “thrilled” for the Gibsons, National Embryo Donation Center President Dr. Jeffrey Keenan said.
“Embryo adoption is a fantastic option for so many couples,” Kennan said. “It's an exceptionally successful and very cost-effective option, and it's sometimes really the only option for couples where the mother can actually experience a pregnancy and the birth of a child.”
The center specializes in saving embryos from being destroyed by allowing families to donate a fertilized egg to others who may not be able to produce a healthy embryo.
Molly’s embryo, which was frozen in 1992, is the oldest known embryo to result in a birth, according to the University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library.
The fact that Molly was born from such an old embryo, frozen with less reliable technology than what's available now, is a good sign that there might be “no real time limit” on how long frozen embryos remain viable, Keenan said.
“We expect even greater viability, and we expect this will be a relatively common story, 27 years from now,” Keenan said.