An amazing miracle of modern medicine occurred when a woman gave birth to an embryo that has been sitting in a freezer for 24 years. This is the longest period of time on record that an embryo has waited to come to term, beating out the previous record of 19 years.
This is a case example that provides a lot of hope, which will be used in fertility medicine for many women in the coming years.
Tina Gibson is the mother who brought the baby to term. She was born in 1991. The embryo was conceived in 1992, when Tina was about one year old. As Tina grew up, the embryo stayed put in the freezer- frozen both literally and in time.
Eventually, Tina married a man named Benjamin. He had an unfortunate problem: he had cystic fibrosis, which complicated his ability to have children. Instead of adopting, they found that they could experience pregnancy by implanting an embryo from the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The pregnancy happened with no problems at all, a 24 hour labor, and no use of an epidural. The result was a healthy girl, Emma Wren, who weighed in at six pounds and eight ounces. Tina was not concerned with making history with this pregnancy. She even said: “I don’t want a world record, I want a baby!”
Sooner or later, the magnitude became clear to Tina, as she did the math and realized, had the embryo not been frozen, she and Emma might have been friends of the same age. Dr. Kutluk Oktay, an NYU Winthrop Hospital physician and researcher, who actually was instrumental in starting this idea of freezing embryos was impressed with the feat.
“This is longer than I’ve ever heard of, and it just shows that if you store them right, embryos could last for decades or hundreds of years,” the doctor said.