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Frozen Embryo Becomes Healthy Child

February 17, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An embryo kept on ice for seven years has developed into a healthy baby boy, with experts calling the 8-pound, 15-ounce infant the world’s oldest newborn.

The child was delivered by Caesarean section Monday at Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center. Spokeswoman Kara Welter said the 54-year-old father and 44-year-old mother are from the San Fernando Valley but she refused to release their names.

The infant and mother were in good condition today, Ms. Welter said.

The embryo was frozen in 1989 after the couple underwent treatments for infertility. The parents, who had a boy with the aid of the treatments, forgot about the frozen embryo until last year when they received a letter asking what they wanted to do with it.

They decided to have another child and doctors implanted the embryo.

Dr. Michael Vermesh, the infertility specialist who performed the in vitro fertilization, said the parents understood the risks involved in implanting an embryo frozen for so many years.

``They are a very intelligent couple. They understand the risks. They understand the situation very well,″ said Vermesh, head of the Center for Human Reproduction in Tarzana. ``They understand that despite all the testing that we performed during the pregnancy, there is no complete assurance of the complete well-being of the baby until the baby is born.″

Since the newborn was conceived on the same day as the boy born in 1990, they are in effect ``fraternal twins, born almost eight years apart,″ Vermesh said. Fraternal, or non-identical, twins are conceived from different eggs and sperm at the same time.

Sonya Forster, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Human Reproduction in Chicago, a national group of infertility centers, said a search of the medical literature indicated that the baby was a product of the oldest-known frozen embryo.

She said another embryo was implanted after five years of being frozen, but there was no indication whether it resulted in a live birth.

Ms. Welter said the doctors told her that if an older frozen embryo has been successfully implanted, ``no one has published any studies and they haven’t let anybody know.″

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