Photo source: Newborn Emma, who was frozen as an embryo about a quarter-century ago. (National Embryo Donation Center)
A 26-year-old woman in Tennessee has given birth to a baby girl, but this otherwise everyday event comes with a remarkable twist. The embryo that resulted in the birth was frozen 24 years ago, meaning mom and baby are in one sense nearly the same age. "This embryo and I could have been best friends," Tina Gibson of Clinton tells CNN. The National Embryo Donation Center, which facilitated the procedure, says in a release that last month's birth of Emma Wren Gibson sets the record for the longest-frozen embryo becoming a baby. An anonymous couple had the embryo frozen back in 1992, when Gibson was all of 18 months old, and the NEDC thawed the fertilized egg in March and implanted it in Gibson, reports USA Today.
"Emma is such a sweet miracle,” says dad Benjamin Gibson, whose cystic fibrosis made it impossible for the couple to conceive. “I think she looks pretty perfect to have been frozen all those years ago.” She's also healthy, having been born at 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and 20 inches long, per People. The process in which the embryo remained in cool storage all these years is called cryopreservation, and the process by which the Gibsons became parents is known as embryo adoption. The procedure is probably a record, as the NEDC says, but confirmation is tricky. "Identifying the oldest known embryo is simply an impossibility," IVF expert Dr. Zaher Merhi tells CNN, because American companies aren't required to report embryos' ages.