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Oregon parents welcome twins from donated embryos frozen 30 years ago

Some experts believe they could be the longest frozen embryos to result in a live birth.
/ Source: TODAY

An Oregon couple welcomed twins from embryos that were frozen 30 years ago — what some experts believe could be the longest frozen embryos to result in a live birth.

Twins Lydia and Timothy were born on Oct. 31 to Philip and Rachel Ridgeway from embryos that were frozen on April 22, 1992.

“It’s a tremendous blessing,” Rachel Ridgeway told TODAY.

Embryo donation is when embryos are removed from one individual and transferred to another. Sometimes the embryos are frozen so they’re preserved and used later, a process called “embryo freezing” or “cryopreservation.” According to the Cleveland Clinic, the live birth rate per transfer for frozen embryos is 49 percent, as noted in 2016 national data.

The Ridgeways — who share four other children, ages, 8, 6, 3, and 1 — may have broken a record.

Back in 2020, Tennessee couple Tina and Ben Gibson welcomed their daughter Molly from a 27-year-old donated embryo, helped by the National Embryo Donation Center. Molly’s sister, Emma, was born in 2017 from a 24-year old frozen embryo.

The age of the embryos didn’t discourage the Ridgeways.

“We really wanted to find those embryos that have been waiting the longest, that have been overlooked multiple times,” Rachel Ridgeway said. She says they wanted to know, “Who needs to be picked out?”

Reflecting on the date their children’s embryos were frozen, Philip Ridgeway said he “was 5 years old when God gave life to these embryos.” His wife was 3.

“It’s just mind-blowing to think that, at that same point in time, somewhere else, that God was giving life to these children,” he added.

Rachel Ridgeway said “it’s pretty amazing just knowing that they were created then and have waited that long for us to be able to parent them.”

The couple told their other children how their siblings were conceived.

“We’ve been very open and upfront with them about the whole process,” Philip Ridgeway said, adding, “They’ve been encouraging us and praying with us and excited and looking forward to meeting them.”

The couple say they are grateful to complete their family. “Very blessed — tired — but very blessed,” says Rachel. “It’s pretty amazing.”