Some families who use in vitro fertilization to build their family will cryogenically preserve any embryos not used in their initial treatment. They may be unsure about whether or not they are done building their family, or they may not know what to do with the remaining embryos. Those remaining embryos can stay in storage until the family chooses to use them or they decide to do something else with them, such as donate them to an adopting family. Some embryos may remain frozen for decades. One family in Britain decided they were ready to expand their family using their remaining frozen embryos, so 11 years after they’d been put into storage they chose to thaw one. That resulted in the birth of baby Ryleigh.
Ryleigh’s two older sisters, Megan and Bethany, were 11 at the time of their little sister’s birth. Technically, the three girls are triplets with an astonishing 11 years age difference between the older twins and Ryleigh. Their story actually isn’t all that unusual; frozen embryos have been successfully used 10, 15, and even 20 years after being initially frozen without issue. The frozen embryos seem to have as much chance of resulting in a healthy, happy baby as they did when they were freshly frozen.
Ryleigh’s success story of being born after 11 years in frozen storage is great news for embryo adopters. This means couples don’t need to be concerned about how long an embryo has been frozen when making an adoption decision. You can learn more about what you should consider when it comes to embryo adoption by visiting www.embryoadoption.org.
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