Baby Molly Sets World Record: Born 27 Years After She Was Frozen as an Embryo

Bioethics   Mark Mellinger   Nov 30, 2020   |   2:21PM    Washington, DC

An East Tennessee baby whose birth was facilitated by the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) has made history with her arrival. Molly Everette Gibson, the daughter of Tina and Ben Gibson, spent more than 27 years as an embryo in frozen preservation, setting the new known record for the longest-frozen embryo to ever come to birth, according to research staff at the University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library.

Molly was frozen on October 14, 1992. She was thawed by NEDC Lab Director & Embryologist Carol Sommerfelt on February 10, 2020 and transferred to Tina’s uterus by NEDC President & Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Keenan on February 12, 2020. She was born October 26, 2020, weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. and measuring 19 inches long.

What makes all of this even more special is that Molly broke her own sister’s record!

Fellow NEDC baby Emma Wren Gibson, born in 2017, had been frozen for more than 24 years, holding the known record for longest-frozen embryo to come to birth until Molly’s arrival. Both girls were frozen together as embryos and are full genetic siblings.

“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.”

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“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.”

The faith-based NEDC has gained distinction as the world’s leading comprehensive embryo adoption program, with more births facilitated (more than 1,000) through embryo adoption than any other organization or clinic. Its dual purpose is to protect the lives and dignity of frozen embryos that would not be used by their genetic parents and to help other couples build the families they have longed for via donated embryos. Embryos have been donated to the NEDC from all 50 states and couples have traveled to Knoxville from all over the United States as well as some foreign countries for their embryo transfers. Our website is www.embryodonation.org.