A human embryo that was frozen 24 years ago has now become a baby girl. Emma Wren Gibson was born in Knoxville, Tennessee from an embryo frozen in 1992. The mother, Tina Gibson, at 25, is only a year older than the embryo. It is the longest known frozen embryo that has successfully become a baby.
The Gibsons are unable to have children of their own and, in the past, have taken care of several other children.
Couples who use IVF to have a baby usually end up with more embryos than they need. They can decide to store them for later use, dispose of them or donate them for scientific research. Many parents who have leftover embryos give them to special centres where they can be used for others.
Doctors claim them frozen embryos can develop just as well as fresh ones. The dangerous part, however, is the thawing process.Only about 75% of all frozen embryos survive it. Health experts think that there may be up to a million frozen embryos in the United States.
For those who can’t have babies, using a frozen embryo from a donation centre is similar to adoption, only that the baby grows inside the adoptive mother.
- adoptive = to become parent of a child that isn’t your own
- claim = to say that something is true
- develop = grow
- dispose of = get rid of; destroy
- donate = give something to an organisation in order to help
- donation centre = here: a place where couples can give embryos they don’t need for others to use
- embryo = a human being that has not yet been born but just started to develop
- however = but
- IVF = in vitro fertilisation = process in which a human egg gets together with male sperm outside a woman’s body; it is also called a test-tube baby
- leftover = here: embryos that you do not need any more
- scientific research = when scientists try to find out more about a disease or medical problem
- similar = like
- store = to put things away and keep them somewhere until they are needed
- successfully = having the effect that you wanted
- survive= live on after a dangerous situation
- take care of = to care for someone or look after them
- thawing process = here: to take an embryo out of a freezer and wait until its body temperature becomes normal
- unable = cannot