Parents Welcome Fraternal Twins From Embryos Frozen In 1992

Nov 23, 2022 by apost team

On April 22, 1992, five embryos were frozen. A little more than 30 years later, on Oct. 31, 2022, a pair of twins were born from them, resulting in arguably the longest-frozen embryos to ever result in a live birth.

The babies were born to Philip Ridgeway and his wife, Rachel, who hail from Portland, Oregon. The couple, who already had four children aged 8, 6, 3 and almost 2, were looking to expand their family when they came across the concept of embryo donation at the faith-based National Embryo Donation Center. According to the center, embryo donation refers to the freezing of extra embryos by those who go through IVF. These embryos are then cryopreserved to be used later, donated for scientific research or donated to those seeking to have children. While the process is sometimes referred to as “embryo adoption,” the term adoption is misleading and refers to a legal process while embryo donation is a medical procedure, according to fertility specialist Dr. Sigal Klipstein.

Philip and Rachel, however, were not looking to make history — they just wanted to have more children. “We weren’t looking to get the embryos that have been frozen the longest in the world,” Philip told CNN. “We just wanted the ones that had been waiting the longest.”

Rachel said, “going into this, we knew that we could trust God to do whatever he had sovereignly planned and that their age really had no factor.” So when she was presented with three of five embryos still viable from the original donors — a man who was in his early 50s at the time and a 34-year-old woman — she asked for the transfer. With a success rate of 25% to 40% of frozen embryos resulting in a live birth, Rachel could count herself among the lucky few.

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According to experts, the process of freezing and keeping embryos in temperatures of 200 degrees below zero results in them being viable almost indefinitely. “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,” fertility specialist Dr. Jim Toner said. Instead, what makes a large difference is the age of the woman who donated the eggs. 

With the Ridgeways’ new bundles of joy — a twin girl named Lydia and son Timothy —  the record for longest-frozen embryos to result in live births has been broken. It was previously held by Molly Gibson, who was born in 2020 to parents Tina and Ben Gibson from an embryo frozen for 27 years. Molly’s sister Emma had also been born from an embryo frozen for 24 years.

“There is something mind-boggling about it,” Philip told CNN. “I was 5 years old when God gave life to Lydia and Timothy, and he’s been preserving that life ever since.” Rachel credited faith for her new blessings, as she told the outlet: “They were good-size babies. It really is God’s grace because he has just sustained us each step of the way.”

Rachel added that the couple had no intention of making headlines with their decision but they put their trust in God. "It was just a matter of whether or not that was in God’s plans," the new mom said.

Isn’t science simply amazing in this day and age? What do you think about Philip and Rachel Ridgeway's newborns? Let us know and don’t forget to pass this along to friends and family as well.

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