Parents welcome world’s ‘oldest’ twins after they were born from frozen embryos THIRTY years ago – when George W Bush was President and Vanessa Williams topped the charts
- The embryos that gave birth to Lydia and Timothy Ridgeway frozen in 1992
- Twins born in what parents Philip and Rachel called a ‘breathtaking’ birth
- Twins were born 30 years after their embryos were frozen
Twins have been born 30 years after their embryos were frozen in what experts consider a new world record.
The embryos that led to the birth of Lydia and Timothy Ridgeway were frozen in 1992, the year Bill Clinton ran for President of the United States and Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last” topped the Billboard 100 charts.
They were born on October 31 in what their parents Philip and Rachel called a “breathtaking” birth.
They said the twins were their “oldest children” – the couple have four others – even though they are less than a month old.
Embryos were frozen for an unnamed married couple in April 1992 who were undergoing IVF and used a 34-year-old egg donor, CNN reported. The husband was in his early fifties.
They were stored in liquid nitrogen at -128c (-200f) in liquid nitrogen at a fertility lab on the US West Coast until 2007 when the couple donated them at the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The embryos that led to the birth of Lydia and Timothy Ridgeway (pictured) were frozen in 1992, the year Bill Clinton ran for president in the US and ‘Black Wednesday’ rocked UK markets .
They were born on October 31 in what their parents Philip and Rachel (pictured) called a ‘breathtaking’ birth
They said the twins (pictured) were their ‘oldest children’ – the couple have four others – even though they are less than a month old
How egg and embryo freezing works
A growing number of women are choosing to freeze their unfertilized eggs.
Freezing allows women who are not ready to have children – whether for professional or financial reasons, or because they have not found the right partner – to store their eggs, so that they can be used in IVF when they are ready for a family.
During the procedure, a doctor retrieves eggs from a woman’s ovaries before freezing the eggs. Eggs can be frozen unfertilized.
Or, in order to create an embryo – or a fertilized egg – an embryologist fertilizes one or more of the harvested eggs with sperm from a partner or donor
And a successful IVF cycle can result in multiple embryos, which means some people choose to freeze the extra embryos for their future family.
The chances of pregnancy by embryo transfer largely depend on the age of the woman when the embryos are created.
Procedures using eggs taken from people aged 35 or younger have the highest chance of resulting in pregnancy. Over 95% of frozen embryos survive the thawing process.
Once a woman is ready to have a baby, she is given estrogen pills to strengthen the lining of her uterus. The doctor then carefully injects one or more thawed embryos into the woman’s uterus.
About 10 days after the embryo transfer, a blood pregnancy test can confirm if the procedure was successful.
A single egg freezing cycle can cost between $8,000 and $20,000.
They hoped another family could use them, a process called embryo donation.
Their hopes were granted when the Ridgeways, of Portland, Oregon, wanted to have more children.
Mr Ridgeway said they deliberately chose the embryos with the first donor numbers.
He said: ‘We weren’t looking to get the longest frozen embryos in the world.
“We just wanted those who had been waiting the longest.”
The embryos were thawed on February 28 of this year.
Of the five who were thawed, two were not viable and Ms Ridgway had the other three implanted in March, 29 years and 10 months after they were frozen.
Two of the transfers were successful and the children were born in October.
Lydia was born at 5lbs 11oz and Timothy was 6lbs 7oz.
The Ridgeways have four other children, ages eight, six, three and one, none conceived through IVF or donors.
Mr Ridgway said: ‘I was five years old when God gave life to Lydia and Timothy, and he has preserved that life ever since.
“In a sense, they are our oldest children, even if they are our youngest children.”
Dr James Gordon, the Ridgeways’ doctor, said: ‘If you’re frozen at nearly 200 degrees below zero, I mean the biological processes basically slow down to next to nothing. And so maybe the difference between being frozen for a week, a month, a year, a decade, two decades, it doesn’t really matter.”
Atlanta fertility specialist Dr. Jim Toner likens it to an old story: “It doesn’t seem like a sperm, egg, or embryo stored in liquid nitrogen knows time. It’s like that Rip Van Winkle thing. He just wakes up 30 years later, and he never knew he was asleep.
“This is a new record for the longest frozen embryo transfer resulting in a birth,” said Mark Mellinger, director of marketing and development at the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC).
Before the Ridgeway twins, the previous record holder for oldest embryo was Molly Gibson, born in 2020 from an embryo frozen for 25 years.
Her mother Tina, 26, joked at the time that her child was almost as old as her.
How Elizabeth Carr, America’s first IVF baby, is now advocating for fertility treatment
America’s first-ever IVF baby is now pleading for alternative fertility treatments.
Elizabeth Jordon Carr, was delivered on December 28, 1981 at Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia to Judith Carr, a 28-year-old schoolteacher whose fallopian tubes had been removed following previous pregnancy failures, and her engineer husband Roger, 30 years old. .
She was the fifteenth baby in the world to be created through IVF, but the first in the United States, along with Louise Brown in the UK, the first person born through the treatment in 1978.
It is estimated that eight million babies have now been born through IVF.
Ms Carr, who is now herself the mother of a son who was conceived naturally, said it took a long time to adjust to the media attention growing up, being the face of the then controversial treatment in the USA.
She told the New York Post last year: “There were definitely people who had terrible things to say – and still do – even where we come from.
“I was always aware that I was the spokesperson and therefore had to behave properly, be articulate, be able to communicate effectively. I couldn’t just be a rebel and a moron. I knew people would watch everything I did.
At the time, there were many ethical concerns about IVF and little was known about the pioneering new treatment.
Louise’s mother Judy, who had three ectopic pregnancies in which the fertilized egg developed outside her womb, suffered three miscarriages.
Her doctor knew little about IVF but had seen a flyer at a medical conference and suggested she look it over.
Howard and Georgeanna Jones, a husband-and-wife medical team, had founded a fertility clinic at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Louise’s parents flew from Massachusetts, where the procedure was illegal, to the center.
She estimates her parents spent $5,000 on hospital bills.