26-year-old woman gives birth from frozen embryo nearly as old as her

As the new mom says, “This embryo and I could have been best friends.”

26-year-old woman gives birth from frozen embryo nearly as old as her

A couple in Tennessee just set the record for the oldest frozen embryo that resulted in a healthy baby. But, to new parents Benjamin and Tina Gibson, the miracle is the newborn herself.

“I just wanted a baby,” Tina tells CNN. “I don't care if it's a world record or not... We're just so thankful and blessed.”

Still, the story of how baby Emma Wren came to be is a remarkable celebration of modern science: According to the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC), embryos for Emma and four of her siblings were frozen more than 20 years ago from an anonymous couple with the hope the “snowbabies” could eventually be transferred via in vitro fertilization to an adoptive mother.


When Tina learned the embryo that would become Emma was frozen when Tina herself was just 18 months, she says she was shocked and rightfully amazed.

“Do you realize I'm only 25? This embryo and I could have been best friends,” Tina recalls of her reaction.

Previously, the oldest known embryo that was frozen, thawed and resulted in a live birth was 20 years old. Carol Sommerfelt, NEDC lab director, tells local station WISH that the Gibsons’ experience should give others hope.

“It is deeply moving and highly rewarding to see that embryos frozen 24.5 years ago using the old, early cryopreservation techniques of slow freezing on day one of development at the pronuclear stage can result in 100 percent survival of the embryos with a 100 percent continued proper development to the day-3 embryo stage.”

Most of the embryos at the NEDC were donated from couples who pursued IVF and had remaining embryos after completing their families. Still, the barriers are high, as there are extensive donor screenings, regulations and legal steps.

But, for families like the Gibsons, the gifts of donated embryos from other couples are invaluable. Speaking with CNN, Tina says they were at peace with the real possibility she would never be able to have a pregnancy because Benjamin has cystic fibrosis, which commonly causes infertility.

After marrying seven years ago, the couple began fostering children and spoke about eventually adopting. Then Tina’s dad mentioned the work at the nearby NEDC. “I was like, ‘Well, that's nice, Dad, but we're not interested. We're knee-deep in foster care right now,’” Tina tells CNN.

Despite initially shrugging it off, the suggestion stuck with Tina and Benjamin, who eventually decided to submit an embryo adoption application. When that was approved, they eagerly moved ahead—through a process that involved a “mock transfer” to determine viability and a home study with the couple.

Once they got the all-clear, the Gibsons were left to review some 300 donor profiles. They selected their family based on compatible heights and weights. Only when they “were fixing to go for the transfer” did they learn about the record-setting possibility.

Embryos for Emma and two siblings were transferred to Tina in March, with only Emma’s implanting, which is common for any age of embryos. After a largely uncomplicated pregnancy, Emma was born on Nov. 25, at a healthy 6 pounds, 8 ounces and 20 inches.

As for whether Emma will be joined by siblings, Tina says she’s glad they have options between the remaining embyros they adopt and traditional adoption.

“We wanted to adopt, and I don't know that that isn't going to be in our future,” Tina says. “This just ended up being the route that we took. I think that we would have been equally elated if were able to adopt.”

Congratulations to the family. All babies are miracles—but Emma especially!

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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