A 24-year-old baby, named Emma Wren Gibson, was born to parents, Tina Gibson and Benjamin Gibson, in Tennessee last month. Shocked? When mother, Tina, was told that the frozen embryo which resulted in her beautiful daughter Emma had been stored for 24 years – nearly as old as herself – she was shocked.
Meet 24-Year-Old Snowbaby ‘Emma’
On November 25, Tina set a world record by giving birth to the oldest embryo ever which had frozen in the National Embryo Donation Center since 1992. Parents were surprised to find out that their daughter was 24 years old – just a year younger than mom Tina. Jokingly, she told the CNN interviewer that she and daughters could have even been best friends considering that they were almost of the same age.
The previous record for the oldest frozen embryo had been 20 years. Newly-born Emma weighs 6 lbs. and 8 oz. – just like any healthy newborn, and even though she isn’t the biological daughter of the Gibsons, both parents consider her an early Christmas miracle and have completely accepted her as their own child. Before Emma, Tina had ‘adopted’ four other embryos from the same female donor because her husband’s cystic fibrosis made it impossible for them to conceive a child together.
Gibsons Discover the Embryo Adoption Method
The doctors call the frozen embryos ‘snowbabies’ suspended in icy storage for years waiting to be brought to life. Many couples like the Gibsons use this special invitro fertilization method to become parents – especially if they are unable to conceive a child naturally. Tina said that she knew about Benjamin’s condition even before they married and she had made peace with.
Both had discussed adoption before but one day, while visiting Tina’s parents, her father told her about the new ‘embryo adoption’ method being used by parents whereby a doctor implants an embryo from two anonymous donors into the woman’s uterus and she can act as the surrogate mother for the baby, carrying it for nine months in her womb and giving birth as she would to her own biological child.
The couple started considering the embryo adoption method, and during their research, they found out about the National Embryo Donation Center which facilitated embryo transfers.
Of the 300 Embryo Profiles, They Chose Emma
The two submitted an application for the adoption and a few weeks later she was called in for a full examination to see if her uterus was capable of carrying a frozen embryo. The doctors gave her the good news that she was perfectly healthy and could carry the adopted child for nine months.
The couple also had to undergo a home test for the donation center to see if the couple were able to provide a good environment for the upbringing of the adopted child after which they were given a choice between 300 embryos with different profiles. Choosing the right profile for their adopted embryo was a stressful task for the Gibsons but they reached a decision after two weeks of consideration – and they chose Emma to become part of their family.
Tina Says That She’ll Have to Think Twice Before Doing it Again
Surprisingly, while picking out an embryo from 300 different profiles, the Gibsons were not told how long the fertilized eggs had frozen in the storage. In fact, researchers say that it is practically impossible to tell the age of a frozen embryo and the adoption agencies do not have an obligation to report the age to the government. Usually, donation centers store several embryos of the same profile (coming from the same egg donor) in case the parents want to expand their family and want to have more than one child.
In some cases, there are embryos from the profile that go unused and parents often request for their disposition or, rarely, give them up for another couple to adopt. Tina says that she is so happy that she chose the Embryo adoption method, although the pain she experienced during child birth will make her think twice before doing it again!