• Molly Everette Gibson, now 1-month-old, breaks the previous world record set by her older sister for the longest-frozen embryo to have resulted in a birth
  • The NEDC keeps embryos donated by families undergoing IVF in frozen preservation until adoptive parents approach it
  • The Gibsons chose to adopt the embryos after years of struggle with infertility

Medical science is full of surprises. This is what a newborn Tennessee baby has proven after being born from an embryo that was frozen for 27 years. The baby now holds the new world record for the longest-frozen embryo to have resulted in a successful birth.

Little Molly Everette Gibson was born on Oct. 26 to Tina and Ben Gibson. The couple adopted the embryo from the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC), an embryo adoption facility based out of Knoxville.

Molly's embryo, which dates back to 1992, spent 27 years in frozen preservation before it was placed into Tina's womb in February. Molly broke the previous record held by her older sister, Emma Wren Gibson, who was born in November 2017 from an embryo frozen for 24 years.

The Gibsons chose to adopt embryos after dealing with infertility issues for years. Tina Gibson became pregnant with the help of the donation center, which preserves embryos that the families undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) decide not to use. The embryos are frozen until they are transferred to an adoptive parent's uterus, and the parent gives birth to a child that is biologically unrelated to the couple, CNN reported.

Tina is now delighted to have Emma and Molly, who are genetic siblings, as her children. "With Emma, we were just so smitten to have a baby," Tina told CNN. "With Molly, we're the same way. It's just kind of funny — here we go again with another world record."

"For so long it was something that we didn't think we'd ever have," said Tina, while documenting her journey with infertility and writing about infertility awareness on NEDC's website. "Now that we have it . . . we're just soaking in every moment."

An embryo donor can't assert any right over a child born as a result of an embryo's implantation into an adoptive parent's womb, according to an open donation agreement by the NEDC.

"Embryo donation is when embryos that do not genetically belong to a woman are transferred into her uterus," NEDC President and Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, who helped implant Molly's embryo into Tina's womb, told USA Today. "Legally this is not an 'adoption' like it is a newborn, but there are lots of good reasons to use that terminology."

Keenan said the average period of freezing and transferring an embryo has been 10-12 years, but Molly's embryo spent the longest known preservation period. He added that the facility, which was founded in 2003 and so far has facilitated over 1,000 births, is potent to preserve embryos for far longer than 27 years.

"All we can say for sure is 27 years, but we're pretty confident that they can be frozen a great, great deal longer than that," Keenan told the outlet. "We'd sure like to see that 30 milestone," he continued.

In this photo, a newborn baby holds the finger of his mother after the delivery at the Lens hospital, northern France, Sept. 17, 2013. Getty Images/ PHILIPPE HUGUEN