- The embryos were frozen on April 22, 1992
- Out of the five embryos that were created, three were viable after thawing
- The twins were born to parents Rachel and Philip Ridgeway on Halloween
An Oregon couple embraced parenthood in a rather unusual way when their twins were born from embryos frozen 30 years ago.
Dubbed the world’s oldest babies, the live birth of Rachel and Philip Ridgeway’s twins Timoty and Lydia on Oct. 31 this year has set a new world record for babies born from the oldest frozen embryos.
The twins dethroned Molly Gibson, who had clinched the title when she was born in 2020 from an embryo that had been frozen for 27 years. Interestingly, the person to hold the record before Gibson was her sister Emma, who was born from an embryo that had been frozen for 24 years.
“There is something mind-boggling about it,” Philip Ridgeway said, reported CNN. “I was 5 years old when God gave life to Lydia and Timothy, and he’s been preserving that life ever since.”
“In a sense, they’re our oldest children, even though they’re our smallest children,” Ridgeway added. The couple already has four children aged 8, 6, 3 and almost 2.
The embryos were frozen on April 22, 1992. They were donated by an unnamed married couple using in-vitro fertilization. The husband, at the time, was in his early 50s and the egg donor was 34 years old, according to BBC.
Initially, the embryos were kept at a fertility lab on the West Coast. In 2007, the couple to whom the embryos belonged, donated the embryos to the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Out of the five embryos that were created, three were viable after thawing. Dr. John Gordon, the ridgeways’ doctor, recommended planting only two embryos as “multiples can cause problems in pregnancy.” But Rachel disagreed.
“You just showed me a picture of my three children. I have to have them all.” Rachel told Gordon.
For the Oregon couple, there was no fixed number of children that they wanted.
“We’ve never had in our minds a set number of children we’d like to have,” Philip said. “We’ve always thought we’ll have as many as God wants to give us, and … when we heard about embryo adoption, we thought that’s something we would like to do.”
For Rachel Ridgeway, the twins were “good-size babies” and it all came together because of “God’s grace because he has just sustained us each step of the way.”
Lydia weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces, and Timothy was 6 pounds, 7 ounces when they were born.
For Ridgeways, age was not the criterion.
“We weren’t looking to get the embryos that have been frozen the longest in the world,” Philip Ridgeway said. “We just wanted the ones that had been waiting (for) the longest.”
During the selection process, the couple asked the donation center for “special consideration” cases of embryos that found it hard to find recipients.
“Going into this, we knew that we could trust God to do whatever he had sovereignly planned and that their age really had no factor. It was just a matter of whether or not that was in God’s plans,” Rachel Ridgeway said.