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.

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.”