An embryo frozen for almost 25 years before it is implanted into another woman’s uterus and then successfully given birth to nine months later would have been thought to be impossible just a decade ago. Yet on November 25, 2016, Emma Wren was born to Tina and Benjamin Gibson after her embryo was frozen for almost that long. It was conceived and cryopreserved in 1992 at the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC). The purpose of the center is to preserve the embryos until a woman is ready to carry it to term as a normal pregnancy and to birth what will hopefully be a very healthy baby.
So far, the center has fostered over 700 pregnancies. The NEDC Director, Dr. Jeffery Keenan hopes that the Emma Wren case will help those who are considering cryopreservation in the long-term to consider donating the embryos to help other women who are having fertility challenges. Lab Director, Carol Sommerfelt has stated that the NEDC is really hoping to reach a 100 percent success rate.
So far, Emma Wren’s embryo is the longest-preserved to survive a nine-month pregnancy and be born perfectly healthy. However, the NEDC is really hoping that other similar cases will be just as successful. They are also hoping that this is just the beginning of a new kind of fertility treatment as well. If so, it could even change the way that fertility treatment is done overall. If the NEDC reaches its goal, that will hopefully mean more hope for women and couples who desire to have a child but are having fertility challenges. Hopefully it will also mean that the potential child will be even more likely to grow up in a healthy and loving environment.