May 11, 2021

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Baby born from 27-year-old embryo believed to have broken record set by her big sister

Though Molly Gibson is just over one month old, she could’ve
been born at any point in the last 27 years.

Her embryo was frozen in October 1992 and stayed
frozen until earlier this year in February, when Tina and Ben Gibson of
Tennessee adopted her embryo. Tina gave birth to Molly in late October —
nearly 27 years after her embryo was first frozen.

Molly’s birth is believed to have set a new record — one
previously held by her older sister, Emma — for the longest-frozen embryo
known to have to resulted in a birth. Not that records matter to the Gibsons.

“With Emma, we were just so smitten to have a
baby,” Tina Gibson told CNN on Tuesday. “With Molly, we’re the same
way. It’s just kind of funny — here we go again with another world
record.”

Gibson became pregnant with both Emma and Molly with the
help of the National Embryo Donation Center, a faith-based nonprofit in
Knoxville that stores frozen embryos in vitro fertilization patients have
decided not to use. Families can adopt those unused embryos, which are then
transferred to an adoptive parent’s uterus.

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Emma, the Gibsons’ older daughter, was born in November 2017
and set the previous record for the longest-frozen embryo known to have
resulted in a birth, according to the center. Hers was frozen for 24 years.

Using older embryos

Before Emma and then Molly set records, little was known
about the viability of older embryos. And when she found out Emma’s embryo had
been frozen for so long, Gibson worried the age would lessen her chances of
becoming pregnant.

But Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, the center’s president and medical
director, assured her that age likely wouldn’t affect the outcome. He said in a
release both Emma and Molly’s births are proof that embryos shouldn’t be
discarded because they’re “old.”

“This definitely reflects on the technology used all
those years ago and its ability to preserve the embryos for future use under an
indefinite time frame,” said Carol Sommerfelt, the center’s lab director
and embryologist, in a release.

About 75% of all donated embryos survive the thawing and
transfer process, and between 25 to 30% of all implants are successful,
Sommerfelt told CNN in 2017 when Emma was born.

Questions still remain about the difference age makes in an
embryo’s successful birth, but the center says that the Gibson girls’ births
are both positive examples of using older embryos.

Molly’s birth was a
bright spot during the pandemic

The second embryo the Gibsons adopted wasn’t thawed and
transferred to Gibson’s uterus until February. Gibson said she found out she
was pregnant with Molly just days before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.

“She’s definitely been a little spark of joy for
2020,” she said.

Born at the end of October at 6 pounds, 13 ounces, Molly lit
up her family’s world. And though she and her sister are medical marvels,
Gibson said the thing that still surprises her the most is the fact that
they’re both hers.

“Every single day, my husband and I talk about it,”
she said. “We’re always like, ‘Can you believe we have not one little
girl, but two little girls? Can you believe we’re parents to multiple
children?’”

Gibson told CNN in 2017, upon Emma’s birth, that she and her
husband had struggled with infertility. The couple had their hearts set on
traditional adoption, but after her parents suggested checking out embryo
adoption, their path changed in unexpected ways.

“You would think that throughout pregnancy that I would
just be used to it, but I’m still completely blown away that they are
ours,” she said.

The post Baby born from 27-year-old embryo believed to have broken record set by her big sister appeared first on K24 TV.

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