Miracle Of Science

Lydia Ann and Timothy Ronald Ridgeway were born on October 31 2022

What makes this a miracle is that these twins were gestated from embryos frozen more than 30 years ago. This achieves a new record for the longest-frozen embryos ever to result in a successful live birth. The LINK>National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) is a private faith-based organization that has helped birth more than 1,200 infants from donated embryos. Their previous record-holder, Molly Gibson, was born in 2020 from an embryo that had been frozen for nearly 27 years. An estimated 1,000,000 unused human embryos are currently stored in the US.

The twin embryos had been created for an anonymous married couple using IVF. The man was in his 50s and reportedly relied on a 34-year-old egg donor. They were kept in storage at a fertility lab on the US west coast until 2007 when the couple donated them to the NEDC in Knoxville, Tennessee for another couple to use.

Issues related to being donor conceived persons continue to evolve. An egg donor writes – Just a few years ago, I would have been like every other uninformed person praising this story as a scientific miracle and thinking how wonderful this outcome was for the recipient family.

She continues – Knowing what I do now, this story is heartbreaking. Add the age of the genetic parents at embryo creation to 30 years of freezing. Then add 18 years until the donor conceived twins reach the age of majority when information about their origins could become available to them – and given the anonymous aspect of their embryo’s creation that is a big IF.

Even so, any possibility of these donor conceived persons ever having contact their genetic parents has been rendered impossible. There may be one or more genetic siblings living who could be open to contact. The reality is that there will be a 30-year age difference between these twins and any genetic siblings. Given the anonymous part, any genetic siblings may not know anything more about their own origins that they could pass on the knowledge of.

With advances in technology, it really is necessary to see the complications with more clarity than simple amazement. Although the ability to know their genetic mother and half-siblings remains open to my two donor conceived sons, it was a bit of a shock to my own sensibilities when I turned 60 and realized that my youngest son will only be 20 years old when I turn 70. However, our sons have had us in their lives 24/7 and we’ve shared many traveling and experiential adventures. I will never regret having them and I hope they never regret we did. They are creative and highly intelligent. Although we are unlikely to be in their lives as long as our own parents were in ours, I have every confidence that they have brilliant and interesting lives ahead of them.

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