This Baby Was Born Four Years After His Parents Died

If you can't use your embryos, who should?
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ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Apr 2018
collage illustrating baby born 4 years after parents death

The question of what to do with unused frozen embryos is challenging to answer, from both practical and ethical standpoints (just ask Sofia Vergara and Nick Loeb). But if you weren’t around to make the decision, whom, if anyone, should it fall to? In a first-of-its kind case, a Chinese court has granted the embryo rights to two sets of grandparents. They found a surrogate, and recently welcomed their grandson—four years after his biological parents passed away.

The couple, who died in a car accident in 2013, had frozen several embryos to be used for IVF. After their deaths, both the man and woman’s parents wanted to move forward with their children’s quest to have a baby. But due to lack of precedent, securing the legal rights to the embryos proved incredibly difficult. To top it off, surrogacy is illegal in China.

Eventually, the grandparents were given the embryos, and tasked with the challenge of finding a new facility to store them. After working with surrogacy agency, they settled on bringing them to Laos, where commercial surrogacy is legal. However, they had to make the trip via car, since no airlines would allow the bottle of liquid nitrogen storing the embryos onboard.

A successful implantation is never guaranteed, but the grandparents lucked out with their surrogate. To ensure the baby would be a Chinese citizen, the surrogate had to travel from Laos to China on a tourist visa.

Truly years in the making, baby boy Tiantian arrived in December.

H/T BBC News

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