Twins born from embryos frozen 30 years ago celebrate their first birthday

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By James Kay

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Twins born from embryos frozen 30 years ago, which is a world record, have celebrated their first birthday.

Timothy and Lydia Ridgeway, born on October 31, 2022, have marked their first year of life. What makes their journey truly exceptional is that they were conceived from embryos frozen a staggering 30 years ago, earning them the distinction of being the oldest embryos used in a successful pregnancy, as recognized by the Guinness World Records, as reported by the Daily Mail.

These remarkable twins owe their existence to the generosity of their anonymous biological parents, who donated their embryos to the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) in Knoxville, Tennessee. Their embryos, frozen in April 1992, waited for decades before finding a new lease on life.

Adoptive parents, Rachel and Philip Ridgeway, who were just three and five years old when the embryos were first preserved, embarked on a unique path to expand their family. They used in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2022 to bring the twins into the world.

IVF, a popular fertility treatment, involves removing an egg from the ovaries and fertilizing it with sperm in a laboratory setting. Once the embryo forms, it is placed into the woman's uterus for gestation.

Philip, 36, expressed his amazement, telling Insider: "It's mind-blowing to think about. Pretty much everybody we've talked to has trouble wrapping their brain around it."

Before they decided to adopt the embryos, the Ridgeways already had four children, ranging in age from two to eight. They initially sought "fertility assistance" to conceive their older children, with Rachel taking hormone-boosting medications to increase their chances of having a child.

However, they decided to explore embryo adoption as an alternative means of expanding their family, planning to use the money they would have spent on fertility treatments. In a surprising turn of events, they naturally conceived their fourth child in 2020. Still, they remained committed to their goal of further expanding their family and visited the NEDC in March 2022.

Rachel explained their unique choice: "These embryos are often overlooked because they were donated by parents who had a known history of certain genetic disorders. We found out that these kids are rarely looked at because many parents coming into the process are wondering what they could have."

The Ridgeways decided to adopt the embryos from NEDC's 'special consideration' bank after learning that the biological father had succumbed to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rare and debilitating neurological disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

ALS, although familial in some cases, has a relatively low overall risk for family members, with only about 10 percent of cases being genetic.

The Ridgeways made their choice without hesitation, believing that these embryos, despite their potential imperfections, deserved a chance at life.

"We decided that we were going to look for children that had, in one sense, been waiting the longest because they might not be perfect," Rachel said. "They have a potential flaw, which, to us, seems silly because all of us have potential flaws. All of us have the possibility of developing any number of illnesses, diseases, or whatever it may be."

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The twins were conceived using IVF. Credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty

The Ridgeways' oldest child, a nine-year-old daughter, has epilepsy and asthma, but the couple emphasizes that they love her unconditionally.

Mrs. Ridgeway encapsulated their journey with these words: "As believers in God, [we felt the twins] should be given the chance of life."

Featured image credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty

Twins born from embryos frozen 30 years ago celebrate their first birthday

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

Twins born from embryos frozen 30 years ago, which is a world record, have celebrated their first birthday.

Timothy and Lydia Ridgeway, born on October 31, 2022, have marked their first year of life. What makes their journey truly exceptional is that they were conceived from embryos frozen a staggering 30 years ago, earning them the distinction of being the oldest embryos used in a successful pregnancy, as recognized by the Guinness World Records, as reported by the Daily Mail.

These remarkable twins owe their existence to the generosity of their anonymous biological parents, who donated their embryos to the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) in Knoxville, Tennessee. Their embryos, frozen in April 1992, waited for decades before finding a new lease on life.

Adoptive parents, Rachel and Philip Ridgeway, who were just three and five years old when the embryos were first preserved, embarked on a unique path to expand their family. They used in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2022 to bring the twins into the world.

IVF, a popular fertility treatment, involves removing an egg from the ovaries and fertilizing it with sperm in a laboratory setting. Once the embryo forms, it is placed into the woman's uterus for gestation.

Philip, 36, expressed his amazement, telling Insider: "It's mind-blowing to think about. Pretty much everybody we've talked to has trouble wrapping their brain around it."

Before they decided to adopt the embryos, the Ridgeways already had four children, ranging in age from two to eight. They initially sought "fertility assistance" to conceive their older children, with Rachel taking hormone-boosting medications to increase their chances of having a child.

However, they decided to explore embryo adoption as an alternative means of expanding their family, planning to use the money they would have spent on fertility treatments. In a surprising turn of events, they naturally conceived their fourth child in 2020. Still, they remained committed to their goal of further expanding their family and visited the NEDC in March 2022.

Rachel explained their unique choice: "These embryos are often overlooked because they were donated by parents who had a known history of certain genetic disorders. We found out that these kids are rarely looked at because many parents coming into the process are wondering what they could have."

The Ridgeways decided to adopt the embryos from NEDC's 'special consideration' bank after learning that the biological father had succumbed to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rare and debilitating neurological disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

ALS, although familial in some cases, has a relatively low overall risk for family members, with only about 10 percent of cases being genetic.

The Ridgeways made their choice without hesitation, believing that these embryos, despite their potential imperfections, deserved a chance at life.

"We decided that we were going to look for children that had, in one sense, been waiting the longest because they might not be perfect," Rachel said. "They have a potential flaw, which, to us, seems silly because all of us have potential flaws. All of us have the possibility of developing any number of illnesses, diseases, or whatever it may be."

size-full wp-image-1263235382
The twins were conceived using IVF. Credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty

The Ridgeways' oldest child, a nine-year-old daughter, has epilepsy and asthma, but the couple emphasizes that they love her unconditionally.

Mrs. Ridgeway encapsulated their journey with these words: "As believers in God, [we felt the twins] should be given the chance of life."

Featured image credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty