Omne trium perfectum—the Latin phrase defining perfection in threes.
A succession of three emanated as a miracle for the Mallon family of Irving, Texas this past month.
In 2007, the Mallons learned that they were unable to conceive on their own. Pulled to pieces by the news, the Mallons regrouped and visited the Advanced Reproductive Care Center in Irving, Texas, to undergo infertility treatment; ultimately creating eight viable embryos. Five days created, the doctors implanted two of the embryos into Joyce Mallon's uterus and used a process of cryopreservation for the remaining embryos.
Nine months later— Julianna Grace was born.
Less than a year later, doctors implanted two of the frozen embryos during an IVF procedure, but despondently Mallon miscarried. Under extreme pressure, yet never losing hope, the Mallon family tried again two months later. Doctors implanted two of the remaining four frozen embryos and — AnnaSophia Grace was born May 28, 2010.
A blissful year and a half later, the final two embryos were successfully implanted— and as perfection comes in threes, baby Andrew Gracin had arrived.
Fertility experts say freezing techniques have advanced in part to scientific research developing an enriched period for embryos to be preserved for longer periods.
Cryopreservation, also called embryo freezing, allows multiple embryo transfers from a single egg collection. Currently in the US, it is estimated that 400,000 frozen embryos are in storage.
A study published in the journal of Human Reproduction, exclusively tested data from nearly 2,300 children conceived using frozen embryos, 4,100 born after fresh embryos were used, and 32,000 pregnancies that did not require IVF or other fertility treatments.
Overall, 258, or about one in 11, of the babies from the fresh embryo transfer group were born prematurely, compared to 120, or about one in 16, in the frozen embryo transfer group.
Frozen embryos were also less probable to be associated to low birth weight and being small for the length of the pregnancy.
Similar differences were seen between the fresh and frozen embryos in regards to low birth weight-180 (6percent) set against 76 (4.2 percent) and being small for the length of the pregnancy 91 (3.1 percent) set against 28 (1.5 percent).
The Three Little Mallons
Daniel Shapiro, medical director of Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta stated that this is an exciting marvel in infertility treatment. He added “More and more couples are using frozen embryos. Using embryos from the freezer is less expensive than harvesting a woman's eggs anew each time a couple wants another baby, and it's also less invasive for the mother, since harvesting eggs from a woman's ovaries requires a medical procedure and sedation or anesthesia.”
When Andrew was born, Joyce Mallon cried for two hours, thankful that the siblings created at the same time had been brought back together through an advanced IVF procedure.
"All I could say was, 'We waited so long for you,' "she said, "We were back together as a family."
The three little Mallons—born years apart, nonetheless inseparable.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.