Friday, January 21, 2011
From ABC News:
Ryleigh Shepherd was conceived in 1998, the same year as her 11-year-old twin sisters, but she wasn't born until 2010.
The three girls from Walsall, in Great Britain, who were born more than a decade apart in two different centuries, are actually fraternal triplets born through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Ryleigh came from the same batch of embryos that had allowed her parents -- Lisa and Adrian Shepherd -- to give birth to twins Megan and Bethany.
British experts say they know of no other case in their country in which three siblings from the same round of fertility treatment have been born with such an age gap.
The longest interval between freezing and conception was in the case of a woman from New York City whose embryo had been stored for 20 years, according to a report in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
"It seemed strange to think that we were using embryos that we had stored all those years ago, that were conceived at the same time as the girls," Lisa Shepherd, 37, told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.
"We knew that if we had another baby it would in effect be the girls' triplet as they were all conceived at the same time," she said. The girls look exactly alike, according to their mother. "It was uncanny."
How long embryos can be frozen and still viable is still not known, but American fertility experts say they have great confidence in the success of new reproductive techniques.
"It's incredibly common for people to go back and second and third time," said Barbara Collura, executive director of RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. "There have been recorded cases of kids born far longer apart. This doesn't tip the scales."
Fertility experts estimate that about 400,000 embryos are currently in frozen storage in the U.S., and a more comprehensive survey will be underway in the spring.
Read the full article here.