Tenn. baby breaks record after being born from 27-year-old embryo

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Updated: Nov. 30, 2020 at 4:12 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - An East Tennessee baby made history after being born from a 27-year-old embryo.

Molly Everette Gibson was frozen as an embryo for more than 27 years before being born to her parents, Tina and Ben Gibson.

Molly was frozen on Oct. 14, 1992, then thawed by National Embryo Donation Center Lab Director & Embryologist Carol Sommerfelt on Feb. 10, 2020 and transferred to Tina’s uterus two days later by NEDC President & Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Keenan.

Twenty-seven years broke a record for the longest time an embryo had been frozen before birth. The previous record-holder was Molly’s sister, Emma Wren Gibson, who was frozen as an embryo for 24 years.

“I think this is proof positive that no embryo should ever be discarded, certainly not because it is ‘old’!” said Dr. Keenan. “This is also a testament to the excellent embryology work of Carol Sommerfelt. She is perhaps the preeminent embryologist in the country when it comes to thawing frozen embryos. And of course, it’s a testament to how good God is, and to His infinite goodness and love.”

Molly and Emma are full genetic siblings.

“When Tina and Ben returned for their sibling transfer, I was thrilled that the remaining two embryos from the donor that resulted in Emma Wren’s birth survived the thaw and developed into two very good quality embryos for their transfer,” said Sommerfelt. “It was even more thrilling to learn 11 days later that Tina was pregnant. I rejoiced with Tina and Ben as we all anxiously waited for the arrival of their second child.”

Sommerfelt added, “When Molly Everette was born on October 26, she was already 28 years old from the standpoint of the time the embryos had been frozen. This definitely reflects on the technology used all those years ago and its ability to preserve the embryos for future use under an indefinite time frame. It also shows the reason the NEDC mission is so important, giving all donated embryos the best chance for life.”

Embryos have been donated to the NEDC from all over the United States and couples have traveled to Knoxville from all over the world for embryo transfers.

To learn more about NEDC visit their website here.

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