A little girl born on October 26, 2020 in the American state of Tennessee entered the history books after she was born from an embryo that underwent a cryogenic process 28 years ago. Molly Everette Gibson’s embryo was cryogenized on October 14, 1992 and was stored in a liquid nitrogen tank until February 2020. This was the longest period of time spent by a frozen embryo before it was successfully implanted.

Molly Everette Gibson. ImageCredit: CNN

On February 12, 2020, after the gradual thawing process was completed, the embryo was transferred to the uterus of the future mother, Tina Gibson. Ironically, she was only a year old when Molly’s embryo. This means, at least theoretically, that the mother and daughter are almost the same age, although they are separated by a generation. Molly Everette Gibson was born perfectly healthy, and now she can boast of the title of being the “oldest” child ever born. At the time of birth, the girl weighed 6 pounds and 13 ounces (3 kilograms).

The two sisters. ImageCredit: Haleigh Crabtree Photography

By coming into the world, Molly managed to break the record held by her older sister, Emma, who was born in 2017 from an embryo that was frozen for 24 years. Molly and Emma are also sisters from a genetic point of view, the embryos of the two being donated by their biological parents, who did not want to reveal their identity, according to Science Alert.

At this point you should know that, theoretically, embryos are viable indefinitely. Tina Gibson became pregnant with both Molly and Emma through the National Embryo Donation Center, a nonprofit center in Knoxville, USA. The center keeps cryogenic embryos that remained unused from patients who have resorted to in-vitro-fertilization. Families wishing to give birth to a child can adopt unused embryos, which are later “transferred” to the womb of the adoptive mother.

Before the births of the two sisters, very little was known about the viability of embryos kept for a long time. But Molly and Emma’s cases prove that embryos do not have an “expiration date.” According to embryologist Carol Sommerfelt from the National Embryo Donation Center, Knoxville, TN, about 75% of the donated embryos survive the process of thawing and transfer, and between 25 and 30% of the implants are successfully completed.

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Published by Martha Kent

I write for SciNotions for many years now and I love everything about this project.

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