A baby girl who spent 13 years as an embryo frozen at -235°C has been born in California. The birth of Laina Beasley set a new medical record in fertility treatment, as the longest time an embryo has been frozen and born healthy.
Laina's birth beat all the odds, overcoming a remarkable series of obstacles. Doctors put the chance of having a baby from a frozen embryo at about 20 per cent. About half the embryos do not survive the thaw, while others fail to attach to the uterus. In addition to these long odds, Laina also survived a fertility clinic scandal, an eight-hour drive across the baking California desert in a portable liquid nitrogen tank and her mother Debbie's near-fatal allergy to the fertility drug Lupron.
'I still look at her and can't believe it,' Debbie Beasley told the San Francisco Chronicle, which broke the story yesterday.
Debbie and her husband Kent first started on a course of IVF treatment in the early 1990s and in 1992 Debbie fell pregnant and gave birth to twins. Because the procedure only offered a 50 per cent chance of success, the Beasleys had 12 additional embryos frozen for later use.
In 1995, they discovered that their doctor, Ricardo Asch, had been taking eggs and embryos from his patients and putting them in other women or sending them to other research scientists. They sued the clinic and managed to recover eight of their 12 embryos; they were told that some had been sent to the East Coast for experiments.
Two of the embryos were then thawed and implanted in Ms Beasley's womb, but they were lost when she suffered her allergic reaction to Lupron. Seven years later, after she had recovered, the remaining embryos were implanted and Laina was born last February, five weeks premature, but healthy.
Sources and References
Baby 13 years in the making - Family's fertility ordeal ends with birth of girl conceived in same test tube as teenage twins
Triplets born 13 years apart