Couple gives birth to ‘oldest babies’ from embryos frozen 30 years ago


In what is believed to be a new record for the longest-frozen embryos and “the oldest babies born”, twin babies were born in Tennessee, United States after being frozen at the embryonic stage three decades ago.

The embryos were stored 30 years ago, being frozen at around -128C (-200F) in liquid nitrogen on 22 April 1992, reported the BBC.

The father of the twins Philip Ridgeway said he was shocked at the “mind-boggling” event after Rachel Ridgeway, now a mother of six gave birth to the infants on October 31.

The Ridgeway family from Oregon named their twins Lydia Ann and Timothy Ronald Ridgeway. The National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC), which is a private organisation that has assisted over 1,200 births from donated embryos, believes that Lydia and Timothy have set a new record.

The previous record-holder is no less shocking. Molly Gibson, who was born in 2020, had been stored and frozen as an embryo for 27 years.

The medical professional who transferred the embryo to Dr John David Gordon said that these twins should be an example for other people who are sceptical about adopting frozen embryos.

“The decision… to adopt these embryos should reassure patients who wonder if anyone would be willing to adopt the embryos that they created 5, 10, 20 years ago,” the BBC quoted him as saying.

“That answer is a resounding yes!”

The NEDC said in a statement that it hoped that this would “encourage others to experience the blessings of embryo adoption for themselves”.

Thirty years ago, twin embryos had been developed for a married couple via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). Later in 2007, the couple decided to donate the embryos to the faith-based organisation. 

At the time the couple got the embryos created, the man was in his 50s and the embryos were stored in a fertility lab on the US west coast. 

Once the twins reached the NEDC in Knoxville, Tennessee for another couple to use them, they were kept safe there. 

Earlier this year, experts from NEDC and partner clinic Southeastern Fertility transferred the twins to Mrs Ridgeway’s uterus.

The Ridgeways had four children prior to the twins. Other children are aged between one and eight. This is the first time the couple gave birth through IVF and donors.

“I was five years old when God gave life to Lydia and Timothy, and he’s been preserving that life ever since,” Philip Ridgeway told CNN.

“In a sense, they’re our oldest children, even though they’re our smallest children.”

“There is something mind-boggling about it,” he remarked.