A Tennessee baby born from a nearly 28-year-old frozen embryo broke a world record previously set by her own sister

Molly Everette Gibson was born from an embryo less than two years younger than her mum Tina. Courtesy of Haleigh Crabtree Photography
  • Tina Gibson’s one-month-old daughter, Molly Everette, was born from a donated embryo frozen less than two years after Gibson herself was born.
  • The fertilised embryo that resulted in Molly’s birth was frozen 28 years ago in October 1992.
  • The donated embryo was transferred to Gibson’s uterus in February 2020.
  • Baby Molly broke a record previously held by her three-year-old older sister, Emma, who spent 24 years as a frozen embryo.
  • Emma and Molly are “full genetic siblings,” according to a statement shared with Insider by the embryo donation program the Gibsons worked with.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tina Gibson and her one-month-old daughter, Molly Everette, are nearly the same age. Sort of.

The baby was born from an embryo frozen almost 28 years ago — less than two years after 29-year-old Gibson herself was born.

“She’s definitely been a little spark of joy for 2020,” Gibson told CNN’s Scottie Andrew.

According to the New York Post, Gibson was born in April 1991, while the fertilised embryo that baby Molly was born from was frozen in October 1992.

The donated embryo was transferred to Gibson’s uterus in February, and she gave birth to Molly on October 26, 2020 — exactly 28 years after the embryo was first frozen, according to a statement shared with Insider by the National Embryo Donation Centre, the Tennessee-based embryo-donation program Gibson and her husband Benjamin worked with.

According to Medical News Today, the embryo-freezing process starts with harvesting and extracting suitable eggs from a uterus before fertilizing the eggs with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilised embryo is then frozen for future use.

Gibson and her husband now have 2 daughters who have each broken the same world record

The University of Tennessee’s medical research staff determined that Molly’s birth sets the record for the longest period of time that a fertilised embryo has spent frozen before successfully resulting in birth, NEDC’s development director Mark Mellinger confirmed to Insider.

Up until Molly’s birth, her own big sister Emma, who spent 24 years as a frozen embryo, held that same record.

Molly’s big sister, three-year-old Emma (left), was born from an embryo frozen 24 years before her birth. Courtesy of Haleigh Crabtree Photography

“I just wanted a baby. I don’t care if it’s a world record or not,” Gibson told CNN in 2017 after Emma’s birth.

A statement from NEDC shared with Insider confirmed that Molly and Emma “are full genetic siblings” as they came from the same batch of frozen embryos. Mellinger told Insider that the centre’s president, Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, performed both embryo transfers.

“When Tina and Ben returned for their sibling transfer, I was thrilled that the remaining two embryos from the donor that resulted in Emma Wren’s birth survived the thaw and developed into two very good quality embryos for their transfer,” Carol Sommerfelt, NEDC’s lab director and embryologist, said in a statement shared with Insider.

Sommerfelt also praised the effectiveness of the freezing process used to preserve the embryos nearly three decades ago. “This definitely reflects on the technology used all those years ago and its ability to preserve the embryos for future use under an indefinite time frame,” she said.

The Gibsons explored a few different paths to having kids before turning to frozen embryos

The couple got married 10 years ago, per CNN.

“My husband has cystic fibrosis, so infertility is common,”Gibson told CNN in 2017. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects a number of organs, including the lungs and pancreas.

Tina and Benjamin with Molly and Emma. Courtesy of Haleigh Crabtree Photography

According to CNN, Gibson and her hubsand fostered several children before Gibson’s father suggested looking at frozen embryos as an option.

“We’re so happy for the Gibsons. This is a couple that, at one point, did not think they would ever be able to become pregnant and have children and here they are, with two little history makers!” Mellinger told Insider over the phone.

Mellinger told Insider that as long as they’re stored properly, embryos don’t have an expiration date

“Our embryologists and medical experts here believe that as long as an embryo was frozen properly and good care was taken, no, we do not believe there is any sort of shelf life for frozen embryos,” Mellinger said.

In a statement shared with Insider, Dr. Keenan said, “I think this is proof positive that no embryo should ever be discarded, certainly not because it is ‘old’!”

The photographs of the family were shared with Insider by Haleigh Crabtree Photography.