Twins born from 30-yr-old embryos sets new record

November 21, 2022
By: ReproTech

CNN reported that twins were recently born from 30-yr-old embryos (cryopreserved on April 22, 1992) to couple Philip and Rachel Ridgeway. This broke the previous record of a birth from a 27-year-old embryo. At ReproTech, we love stories like these because we live and breathe cryopreservation! We specialize in the cryostorage of human reproductive tissues. You may wonder how long an embryo can be frozen and remain viable after so many years. How are embryos frozen, and do they result in a pregnancy as often as a fresh embryo? And last, how does ReproTech fit into the family-building journey? We’re here to give you a quick overview!

How long can frozen embryos be stored?

It’s incredible to think that embryos can be preserved for 30 years and still be viable! Dr. Gordon, the physician of Rachel Ridgeway, said, “If you’re frozen at nearly 200 degrees below zero, I mean, the biological processes essentially slow down to almost nothing. And so perhaps the difference between being frozen for a week, a month, a year, a decade, two decades, it doesn’t really matter.” We love Fertility Specialist Dr. Jim Toner’s way of confirming this, “It doesn’t seem like a sperm or an egg or embryo stored in liquid nitrogen ever experiences time. It’s like that Rip Van Winkle thing. It just wakes up 30 years later, and it never knew it was asleep.”

Evidence has overwhelmingly shown time and time again that once embryos have been frozen, they can be stored indefinitely.

How does embryo cryopreservation work?

Embryo freezing, or embryo cryopreservation, is the process of preserving embryos by cooling them to deep sub-zero temperatures (-320 degrees Fahrenheit). Once the embryos are frozen, they are placed in long-term cryostorage. When the decision is made to use the embryos, they are taken out of storage, thawed, and transferred.

Are frozen embryo transfers as successful as fresh embryo transfers?

The short answer is yes. A growing number of IVF specialists recommend that some patients consider frozen transfers instead of fresh ones. The success rates for both procedures are very similar.

Where does ReproTech fit into the embryo-freezing process?

ReproTech has been a part of countless family-building journeys, cryostoring human reproductive tissues for over 30 years. We’ve seen first-hand that cryostorage is an effective way for people to preserve the chance of having a family of their own someday! With five secure cryostorage facilities strategically located across the U.S., we are more accessible than ever to individuals and clinics looking for a safe, long-term solution for storing their embryos and other reproductive tissues. We welcome you to reach out with any questions about how ReproTech’s services can work for you in your family-building journey.

Baby Born From 27-Year-Old Embryo

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

12/01/2020/ Source: CNN – 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.

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.

A Study on Patient Contact Protocol

The disposition of embryos and continued contact with the patient is a significant issue within the embryo storage community. Recently a study was published in the Journal of Fertilization: In Vitro, IVF Worldwide, Reproductive Medicine, Genetics & Stem Cell Biology, which focused on one program’s experience with contacting patients about embryos in storage. The goal of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of one program’s disposition protocol. This policy begins at the initiation of the first cycle and includes verbal and written consent with the knowledge that they will be contacted annually and are to make a decision within 30 days of receiving the letter.

The study, which focused on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) ART program, revealed that even with clear guidance and informed consent of patients, following up with them in regards to the disposition of their frozen embryos was a challenge. Getting in contact with patients proved difficult in even the first year of storage. For 26.7% of patients, more than one letter was required to obtain a response from patients and that percentage grew the longer the embryos were in storage. Of those groups, nearly 14% of patients with embryos at 1 year post freeze never made final disposition decisions, resulting in considerable time and effort on the part of the clinic staff.

For patients dealing with these tough decisions, ReproTech is here to help. We are equipped to handle the long-term storage of embryos in a secure facility. At ReproTech, storage is all we do, and we’ve been the industry leader in long-term reproductive tissue storage for 25 years. We offer safe, cost effective long-term storage so patients can take the time to make the right decision for themselves.

To read the study, click here.

NASA Scientist Gives Birth Using Embryos Frozen for Nearly 19 Years

Source:  Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area

SAN RAMON, Calif., Aug. 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kelly Burke – a 45-year-old NASA research scientist – looks upon her babbling baby and ponders the unique reality that his biological siblings, created from the same embryo cycle and born to another family 2,500 miles away, will be of voting age at the time of his first birthday this November. This story could, possibly, only be conceived by a rocket scientist.

Kelly gave birth to Liam James using what her doctor believes to be the second oldest cryopreserved human embryo in history.

Having submitted herself to numerous fertility treatments and years of trying to become pregnant, the Virginia Beach mother says she had finally abandoned the idea of ever using her own eggs. Weighing her waning options, Kelly discovered a couple from Oregon looking to donate four embryos.

“Embryos are not easy to come by and the opportunity came unexpectedly. I was excited by the idea of carrying my child,” says Kelly.

Although embryo adoption is significant in itself, the embryos Kelly would adopt had an even more amazing story.

Nineteen years earlier, a woman donated her eggs at Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area (RSC). In 1994, the couple from Oregon had been struggling with infertility and decided to use these donated eggs while going through in vitro fertilization (IVF). They transferred two embryos and froze the remaining embryos that had been created during the process. Happily, they delivered fraternal twins from that IVF cycle.

The embryos remained frozen until 2012 when the Oregon couple was put into contact with Kelly who went through a rigorous adoption process. “I think the couple knows more about me than some of my family,” Kelly joked.

Kelly adopted four embryos and flew to RSC for the implantation.

“We were all very excited about the procedure,” recalls Dr. Deborah Wachs, a reproductive endocrinologist at RSC – the fertility clinic recognized for the nation’s second successful birth from a frozen embryo in 1986.

“As was practiced in the early 90s, the embryos had been developed to the day-2 stage and then frozen,” says Dr. Wachs. “Currently, we commonly transfer and freeze embryos at the day-5 stage because it allows us to better select the embryos that are more likely to result in a pregnancy.

“In Kelly’s case, we decided to thaw all four day-2 embryos and culture them in our IVF lab to the day-5 blastocyst stage. We were successful.”

The embryo donors and Kelly agreed to have an open embryo adoption, which means her nine-month-old will one day have the chance to know his siblings.

In 2010 the medical journal Fertility and Sterility reported, “19 years and 7 months […] represents the ‘oldest’ cryopreserved human embryos resulting in a live birth to date.”








New research supports long-held beliefs that length of cryostorage period does not impact embryo survival

SOURCE: Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics April 2014, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 471-475

A recent article in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics concluded that storage time did not influence the survival and pregnancy outcomes of slow-frozen early cleavage human embryos. The developmental potential of cryopreserved human embryos with different storage times does not appear to have a negative influence on further development.

Access the article on SpringerLink