Couple Specifically Requested Embryos Frozen the Longest

The births of Lydia Ann and Timothy Ronald are thought to have set a record
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2022 2:13 PM CST

The embryos were frozen on April 22, 1992. On Halloween this year, Rachel Ridgeway gave birth to twins born from those embryos, in what is thought to be a record for the longest-frozen embryos to result in a live birth. The record had been creeping toward the 30-year mark, with a baby born from an embryo frozen 24 years prior in 2017; her sister was born from an embryo frozen 27 years prior in 2020. The BBC has the details on the latest births: The embryos belonged to an unidentified married couple; the husband was in his 50s and they chose a 34-year-old egg donor. The resulting embryos were stored at -200 degrees Fahrenheit on the West Coast for 15 years, then five were donated to the faith-based National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Rachel Ridgeway—who lives in Portland, Oregon, with her four kids ages 2 to 8—gave birth in Tennessee to Lydia Ann and Timothy Ronald; the two are the first children she and husband Philip had via donor embryos. As Philip tells CNN, "I was five years old when God gave life to Lydia and Timothy, and he's been preserving that life ever since. ... We’ve never had in our minds a set number of children we’d like to have. We’ve always thought we’ll have as many as God wants to give us, and ... when we heard about embryo adoption, we thought that’s something we would like to do."

The doctor who performed the transfer noted that the twins' births should serve as reassurance to anyone questioning whether they should adopt decades-old embryos. He tells WATE the Ridgeways specified that they wanted the embryos that have been waiting the longest. "They actually felt called to specifically say we want the embryos that everyone else has taken a pass on," said Dr. John David Gordon, who estimates there are currently 1.5 million to 3 million frozen embryos in the US. (More embryo stories.)

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