VANCOUVER, Wash. — A couple from Vancouver, Washington adopted embryos earlier this year that had been frozen since 1992. Last month, the babies were born and the Ridgeways welcomed a set of twins into their family.
The embryos — frozen in liquid nitrogen 30 years ago — were successfully thawed, transferred and finally delivered, breaking the record for the longest frozen embryos to ever result in a successful live birth.
Lydia and Timothy Ridgeway are only a month old. Parents Philip and Rachel couldn't be happier to have grown their family through embryo adoption.
"We are Evangelical Christians and we believe that, but the Bible teaches that life begins at conception and we thought, 'What better way to put our money where our mouth is?'" said Philip Ridgeway.
The couple decided to go with the profile that had been waiting the longest.
"We looked for the smallest number and found our donor profile and said, 'OK, it looks like there's no one else that's waited longer, so we're going to take these kiddos because they had waited 15 years after being created, and then 15 years at the National Embryo Donation Center,'" Rachel Ridgeway said.
The National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee helped facilitate the birth of the twins, whose embryos were donated anonymously. Dr. John David Gordon, medical director at Southeastern Fertility, was the couple's doctor.
"These embryos that they adopted were frozen in '92. They're essentially 30 years old, so those embryos were for an IVF cycle that resulted in success, presumably back in the '90s," Gordon said. "The couple was willing to relinquish those extra embryos. They sat there in liquid nitrogen, just waiting for somebody to choose them."
After an initial consultation to see if the Ridgeways would be the right fit, the couple traveled back to Tennessee for the embryo transfer in March.
"I was a little bit nervous, you know, for anybody with a twin pregnancy, but they sailed through it and did so well," Gordon said.
With four other children, the family grew from six to eight.
"The Lord chose Lydia and Timothy to be the ones that he would implant and continue to sustain throughout my pregnancy, and now we hold them in our arms," Rachel Ridgeway said.