Rachel Ridgeway, a mother of six, is overjoyed that she is just three years older (technically) than her children.
The twins, who were born three weeks ago, are thought to be the oldest known embryos that resulted in a live delivery.
Rachel and her husband, Philip, were pregnant three decades after their son Timothy and daughter Lydia were frozen as embryos in April 1992.
After undergoing IVF, the children’s biological parents, who have remained secret, gave their remaining embryos to the National Embryo Donation Center, or NEDC. The Christian organization, which exclusively provides frozen embryo transfers to heterosexual couples who have been married for at least three years, kept them in liquid nitrogen with thousands of other embryos.
The NEDC was established in 2002 to assist people in starting or expanding their families, as the Ridgeways did.
“I was 5 years old when God gave these embryos life,” Philip, a devoted Christian, explained. He emphasized that their birth was all the more extraordinary because Rachel was only three years old at the time of their conception.
“It’s mind-boggling to consider,” the father remarked. “Almost everyone we’ve talked to has difficulties wrapping their heads around it.”
The Ridgeways, who have four children aged two to eight, addressed the NEDC in December 2019.
Rachel said, “We used the hormone-boosting drug Clomid to help us have our three oldest children because we needed some help getting pregnant.”
They planned to have their fourth child in 2020. They made the decision to “adopt” a frozen embryo from the NEDC in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“We chose to spend the money we would have spent on reproductive care on embryo adoption,” Rachel explained. “We wanted to go that way.”
A few months later, they were surprised when their fourth child, who is now two years old, came into the world on its own.
But they were adamant about having additional children. They went through their strategy again.
According to Philip, they were driven by their religious views. “We’ve always said, ‘Let’s have as many kids as God wants to give us,'” the 35-year-old explained. “We thought, ‘If that’s God’s will, we’re not done yet.'”
The couple, who live near Vancouver, Washington, chose their embryos from the NEDC’s “special consideration” area in December 2021.
Rachel said, “These embryos are often thrown away because their donors have a history of certain genetic problems.”
“We discovered that these children are rarely looked at since many parents who come into the process are curious about what they may have,” Rachel explained.
“It didn’t really matter to us whether they were regarded as flawless or not,” the mother remarked. According to the 34-year-old, the twins’ biological father died of ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“There’s a chance it’s a hereditary issue that kids may or may not have,” Rachel explained. “However, we didn’t care.”
Philip told Insider that they didn’t care about how old the embryos were, unlike some of the other potential parents.
Three were transported, and two were produced. Rachel, who had a reasonably easy pregnancy, gave birth at 38 weeks on October 31, 2022.
Timothy was 6 pounds, 7 ounces. Lydia weighed 5 pounds.
The University of Tennessee Preston Medical Library confirmed the twins’ record-breaking birth. Molly Gibson, a kid born in 2017, previously held the record. Molly was a frozen embryo that had been preserved for 24 years.
The Ridgeways told Insider that the 30-year-old embryos were not chosen for notoriety.
They have agreed on how they will parent their twins. “Our hopes for the twins are to make adoption a part of their narrative,” Rachel explained. “We want it to be a normal part of their life.”
She stated that once they were able to understand, the family would inform them about their origin.
“They’ll know they’re adopted forever,” Rachel added. “We want to make sure they understand that embryo adoption makes them unique.”