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Couple Welcomes Twins from Embryos Frozen 30 Years Ago


Twins born last month in Knoxville, Tennessee, may be from the the longest-frozen embryos to result in a live birth.

When Rachel Ridgeway gave birth Oct. 31, her healthy twins came courtesy of embryos that were donated 30 years ago, according to CNN.

“There is something mind-boggling about it,” her husband, Philip Ridgeway, told the outlet. “In a sense, they’re our oldest children, even though they’re our smallest children.”

The Ridgeways have four other children, ages 8, 6, 3 and almost 2, but none were conceived via IVF or donors.

The embryos originally belonged to those of an anonymous married couple at a West Coast fertility facility, using the husband’s sperm and the eggs of a 34-year-old donor. The couple later donated the embryos to the National Embryo Donation Center, according to CNN.

When the Ridgeways embarked on their journey to have more children, they consulted the center in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“We have never had in our minds a set number of children we’d like to have,” Philip told CNN. “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 five embryos were thawed on Feb. 28, and three were viable, according to the outlet. Rachel opted to transfer all three, she said.


Two of the embryos were successfully transferred. According to studies, about 25% to 40% of frozen embryos result in a live birth.

Despite the length of the embryos’ storage, liquid nitrogen can preserve them for decades, according to fertility doctors.

“It doesn’t seem like a sperm or an egg or embryo stored in liquid nitrogen ever experiences time,” Dr. Jim Toner, a fertility specialist in Atlanta, said. “It’s like that Rip Van Winkle thing. It just wakes up 30 years later, and it never knew it was asleep.”

Last month, Lydia (5 lbs. 11 oz.) and Timothy (6 lbs. 7 oz.) made their debuts — some 30 years in the making.


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