Making history worldwide again through NEDC
Siblings Lydia Ann and Timothy Ronald, children of Philip and Rachel Ridgeway, each spent nearly 30 years as embryos frozen in liquid nitrogen prior to being thawed earlier this year, according to an NEDC press release.
“When they were born Oct. 31, 2022, they set the new known record for the longest-frozen embryos to ever result in a successful live birth, according to research staff at the University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library,” the release stated.
The embryos originally were frozen on April 22, 1992. Laboratory supervisor and senior embryologist Sarah Atkinson, of NEDC’s Partner Medical Clinic Southeastern Fertility (also located in Farragut), thawed the embryos Feb. 28. Southeastern Fertility medical director Dr. John David Gordon transferred them to Rachel’s uterus on March 2.
The Ridgeways’ births of twins frozen for essentially three decades (29 years, 10 months) breaks the previous record set by another NEDC couple, Tina and Ben Gibson, of more than 27 years.
“Thirty years ago, the living Christ gave these children life, and He has been sustaining that life ever since,” the Ridgeways stated in the release. “This is His story, and we are so thankful to Him that, in His providence, He is allowing us to be a part of it.”
“I have been working in the field of infertility for over 25 years, and yet these embryos were frozen while I was still in my training as an ob/gyn resident at Stanford,” Gordon said. “It just boggles the imagination.
“The decision of Rachel and Philip to adopt these embryos should reassure patients who wonder if anyone would be willing to adopt the embryos that they created five, 10, 20 years ago. That answer is a resounding yes,” he added.
“We’re so grateful to our donor families for their gift of these precious snowflakes,” Atkinson said. “People donate for various reasons, but the end result is giving the gift of hope, love and a chance at carrying a baby. These two frozen superstars were created nearly 30 years ago, just waiting on ice (liquid nitrogen, actually) for their family to come find them.”
“The NEDC has been fortunate to facilitate and break numerous world records in our field,” said Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, NEDC president and medical director. “We hope this news will encourage others to experience the blessings of embryo adoption for themselves.”
The faith-based NEDC is the world’s leading embryo adoption program, with more births facilitated (more than 1,250) through embryo adoption than any other organization or clinic, the NEDC press release stated. Its mission is to protect the lives and dignity of frozen embryos by promoting, facilitating and educating about embryo donation/embryo adoption. Its website is www.embryodonation.org.