The Family Welcomes Twins Born From Embryos Frozen 30 Years Ago

Born on October 31, Lydia and Timothy Ridgeway were born from what may be the longest-frozen embryos to ever result in a live birth, according to the National Embryo Donation Center. The family welcomes twins born from embryos frozen 30 years ago Embryos that had been stored in cryostorage since 1992 were adopted by Philip and Rachel Ridgeway

The embryos were created for an anonymous married couple using in-vitro fertilization. The husband was in his early 50s, and they used a 34-year-old egg donor.

The embryos were frozen on April 22, 1992.

Understanding embryo donation

Embryos that had been frozen since 1992 were adopted earlier this year by a couple from Vancouver, Washington. The twins were born last month, and the Ridgeways were thrilled to have them.

The embryos, which had been placed in liquid nitrogen and frozen 30 years earlier, were successfully defrosted, transferred, and then delivered, shattering the previous record for the longest-ever frozen embryos to give birth to a live child.

Family welcomes twins born from embryos frozen 30 years ago

Lydia and Timothy Ridgeway are just one month old. Philip and Rachel, the parents, are overjoyed to have expanded their family through embryo adoption.

When people undergo IVF, they may produce more embryos than they use. Extra embryos can be cryopreserved for future use, donated to research or training to advance the science of reproductive medicine, or donated to people who would like to have children.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says, “Application of the term ‘adoption’ to embryos is inaccurate, is misleading, and could place burdens upon recipients and should be avoided.”

“We are Evangelical Christians, and we believe that but the Bible teaches that life begins at conception, and we thought, ‘What better way to put our money where our mouth is?’ ” said Philip Ridgeway.

Choosing the profile that had been waiting for the longest was the choice of the couple.

Risks of multiples

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the CDC both recommend transferring one embryo at a time, as transferring more raises the likelihood for multiples, which also potentially increases risk for both mother and child.

Rachel remembers Gordon handing her a picture of the three embryos and recommending they transfer only two, telling her, “multiples can cause problems in pregnancy.” But she said there was no question in her mind that they would transfer all three.

She remembers getting teary-eyed and saying, “You just showed me a picture of my three children. I have to have them all.”

The remaining three embryos were transferred into Rachel on March 2, 29 years and 10 months after they were frozen. Two of the transfers were successful. Studies have found that 25% to 40% of frozen embryo transfers result in a live birth.

Dr. Jim Toner, a fertility specialist in Atlanta, likens it to an old story: “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.”

The age of the embryo shouldn’t affect the health of the child. What matters more is the age of the woman who donated the egg that went into the embryo.

Lydia was born at 5 pounds, 11 ounces, and Timothy was 6 pounds, 7 ounces.

“They were excited and happy with us every step along the way. They love their siblings, and they play together and were looking forward to finding out whether God had given them two boys, two girls or a brother and a sister,” Phillip Ridgeway said.

“They were good-size babies,” Rachel Ridgeway said. “It really is God’s grace because he has just sustained us each step of the way.”

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Video resource: TODAY

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