'She's 2 going on 16': Couple adopts embryo frozen for 14 years

Posted at 12:22 AM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-15 00:22:57-04

OMAHA, NE (KETV/CNN) – One Nebraska couple, who couldn’t have biological children, is building the family they’ve always wanted, thanks to frozen embryo adoption.

After they found out a year into marriage they couldn’t have children, Jenny and David Hancock turned to adoption, welcoming Ruby and Grace as foster children at infancy.

During the five years of ups and downs trying to adopt the girls, the couple was also pursuing an embryo adoption.

Through a non-profit, Christian-based embryo donation center in Tennessee, couples can adopt frozen embryos, extras from couples who did infertility treatments.

"That's a hard decision for some of these families. Maybe they have a few kids and feel they're done having kids, and more embryos are left,” David Hancock said.

After a home study, medication and careful timing, an embryo was transferred to Jenny Hancock’s uterus.

"There's that anticipation and hope that it's going to lead to life, and you see the pictures of the embryos and just start imagining,” Jenny Hancock said.

The embryo did indeed lead to life, growing to become baby Kathryn “Kate” Joy, who was born two years ago.

"Her name is Kathryn Joy, and it means pure joy and totally fits her. We joke that she's 2 going on 16,” Jenny Hancock said.

And in a way, Kate is that old. As an embryo, the girl was frozen for 14 years.

"You look at her, she's a full-blown kid, and she was preserved in 2001 at negative 321 degrees, just a small collection of cells,” David Hancock said.

Jenny says it’s mind-blowing to think about the time warp in Kate’s life.

"Amazing. God was making a plan for our family when we were 16 years old,” she said.

With upwards of 600,000 frozen embryos available, the Hancocks want others to know about this option for adoption.

“These embryos are valuable. They deserve a chance at life,” Jenny Hancock said.

The Hancocks chose an anonymous adoption for Kate’s embryo, knowing only simple profiles of the biological parents.

"They give you basic information, physical characteristics, eye color,” Jenny Hancock said.

The couple has tried two more transfers since having Kate without success. Generally, there’s a 55 percent success rate of implantation with embryo transfers.

The cost, which is between $2,000 and $4,000, is cheaper than in vitro fertilization, the Hancocks say.

Now, the parents are celebrating their family, calling all three little girls blessings – no matter how they were adopted.

"I know that the Lord has blessed us as parents through the adoption, and hopefully, he's going to use us to bless the kids and share his love with other people,” David Hancock said.

Copyright 2018 KETV, Hancock Family via CNN. All rights reserved.