Baby born from embryo frozen almost 20 years ago

Oct 12, 2010 by Lin Edwards report

(PhysOrg.com) -- A healthy baby has been born from an embryo that was kept frozen for nearly 20 years, smashing the previous record of 13 years. The new baby is a biological sibling of a child born to the embryo donor couple about 20 years ago.

The baby’s unnamed mother, 42, is from the US and had been undergoing for 10 years without success. Then last year an embryo that had been kept frozen for almost 20 years was thawed out and implanted into her . The baby boy was born in May and weighed 6 lb 15 oz (about 3 kg). The embryo, along with four others, was created as a result of IVF treatment that resulted in one of the being successfully implanted in the mother and brought to full term. The remaining embryos were then donated anonymously for “adoption” by other couples, and frozen.

The four pronuclear stage embryos were offered to the woman and thawed out but only two survived the process. Two embryos were implanted into the recipient, but of these only one survived to full term. (Pronuclear stage embryos are just-fertilized eggs in which the chromosomes derived from the father and mother have not yet fused and the cell has not yet divided.)

The woman's doctor, Director of the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at the Eastern Virginia medical school, Dr. Sergio Oehninger, said the patient had been receiving fertility treatment unsuccessfully for many years, but her persistence had now paid off.

Dr. Oehninger’s research showed that keeping the embryos frozen for a long time does not affect their viability, and it may be possible for them to remain viable 40 years or more, although Oehninger said it would be unlikely such an old embryo would be used as this would mean a new generation using embryos of a previous generation. This issue has already been raised with a mother in 2007 freezing some of her own eggs for the use of her daughter (then 7), who has a medical problem that will probably leave her infertile. If she uses the eggs, her child would also be her own half-sister or brother.

The previous record for a being implanted and brought to full term was set in 2005 by San Francisco mother Debbie Beasley, who was then aged 45. The embryo, which resulted in the birth of Laina, had been frozen for 13 years. In 2009 a baby girl was born after IVF using sperm that had been frozen and stored for 22 years.

Freezing embryos by suspending them in liquid nitrogen is a common procedure in fertility clinics, but the length of time frozen embryos can be stored varies from country to country. As well as embryos, eggs, sperm, and ovarian tissue can also be frozen to allow for multiple attempts at becoming pregnant without repeatedly having to give samples or create embryos.

The case was reported in the journal .

Explore further: Hearing quality restored with bionic ear technology used for gene therapy

More information: Live birth from a frozen–thawed pronuclear stage embryo almost 20 years after its cryopreservation, Donna Dowling-Lacey, M.S, et al., Fertility and Sterility, doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.08.056

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User comments : 8

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daqman
5 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2010
If you add this to the concept of surrogate mothers you have the strange possibility of eventually having your great grand daughter giving birth to your sister. A strange new world.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Oct 12, 2010
If you add this to the concept of surrogate mothers you have the strange possibility of eventually having your great grand daughter giving birth to your sister. A strange new world.

Or a machine giving birth to human beings on another planet.
TechnoCore
5 / 5 (1) Oct 12, 2010

Or a machine giving birth to human beings on another planet.


You still need to invent an artificial uterus though...
Unless you plan to freeze the whole Mommie ;)
googleplex
5 / 5 (1) Oct 12, 2010
I just don't understand how the delicate molecular sub cellular machinery survives the freeze. Surely during thawing ice crystals form and destroy the thousands of nano tubules and nano-machines inside the cell/embryo.
Perhaps if this process can be understood then suspended animation via cryo freezing would become viable.
Then humans can potentially live forever; near death you would be cryo-frozen until tech available to repair you.
Zidara
not rated yet Oct 12, 2010
if you can afford it. Even if all they had to do was keep you cold, that's not a cheap business for the average human
googleplex
not rated yet Oct 12, 2010
I think it's $15k for a "head only" cryo freeze. This is comparable with a regular burial. Is the preservation process they use the correct method, that is the gamble.
bhiestand
not rated yet Oct 13, 2010
Then humans can potentially live forever; near death you would be cryo-frozen until tech available to repair you.

If there's a small number of them, and if science is well-funded in the future, they could probably find full time employment as research subjects upon their revival.

Imagine having the chance to work with hundreds of subjects from 100 years ago! That's the kind of thing historians and many social scientists can only dream about.

Imagine their views on politics... that'd be fun :) "A BLACK President? Women VOTING? We need to do something about this. Cars? A world war? TWO? Oh my"
tkjtkj
5 / 5 (1) Oct 13, 2010
I just don't understand how the delicate molecular sub cellular machinery survives the freeze.


Freezing and thawing cells is a very common practice in laboratory biology. The process requires very slow freezing, and very rapid thawing, the cells having been suspended in diluted solution of either dimethylsulfoxide or glycerin. Slow freezing can be done by placing vials of the cell suspension in a thickwalled (styrofoam) container which is then placed in a lab freezer. After a period of time,the vials can be placed in liquid Nitrogen for long term storage.
Thawing means dropping the vials into warm water .. and yes some do break cuz of the thermal stress, which is why many samples are prepared. You can google for: cell culture freezing

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