Adrienne Domasin always envisioned someday holding her newborn in her arms. Little did she know that she would make history in the process.
Domasin, 36, of Mission Viejo, gave birth Wednesday evening to the first baby conceived in the United States by means of frozen sperm and a frozen egg, according to Extend Fertility, the firm that sponsored the egg-freezing study in which she took part.
Noah Peter Domasin made his debut at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces. The pain of the hours of labor were minimal compared with the pain Domasin had felt when she was told she couldn't conceive.
Shortly after graduating from USC in 2005, Domasin, who is single, sought other methods to conceive after doctors said her fallopian tubes were blocked.
Her mother said it was "a hard time for her."
"All three of my boys started their families. She was the only one who couldn't have one," said Idanell Domasin, 74.
Unable to afford in vitro fertilization, Domasin, a cinematographer, participated in an Extend-sponsored egg-freezing study at the Huntington Reproductive Center in Laguna Hills.
"When they told me my tubes were blocked, I was naturally devastated. Here I was, ready to finally have the baby of my dreams, and I couldn't," Domasin said.
Until recently, egg freezing was offered only to women suffering from illnesses that might leave them infertile. Now there is a demand by women in their mid- to late 30s who "see motherhood in their future, just not their immediate future," said Dr. Jane Frederick, who managed Domasin's fertility treatment. The women worry that as they get older it will be harder to conceive in the traditional way.
Although freezing sperm has been done for decades, freezing eggs is a delicate procedure that has a slim success rate because ice crystals can develop and damage the egg's structure, said Richard Paulson, a professor of reproductive medicine at USC.
There have been about 200 documented births from frozen eggs worldwide, Paulson said. He had not heard of other cases of frozen egg/frozen sperm conceptions. The Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics reported a case last year in Australia.
Although egg freezing is becoming more mainstream, women shouldn't get their hopes too high about successful conception until there is a better understanding of the process, said Dr. Mousa Shamonki, director of in vitro fertilization at UCLA Medical Center.
The procedure doesn't come cheap. Extend charges $10,000 for retrieving eggs, a $650 annual storage fee and additional costs for fertility drugs.
After entering the egg-freezing study, Domasin received shots and pills to stimulate egg production. Four months after her eggs were frozen, she decided she was ready to conceive.
Personnel at the reproductive center placed her thawed eggs in a petri dish and injected them with thawed donor sperm. A fertilized egg was then placed inside her.
"This baby is proof to women struggling to have a baby that using frozen eggs to achieve pregnancy is now an option," Frederick said.
But making history was the last thing on Domasin's mind as she swayed in a rocking chair in the hospital room Thursday with her son snuggled in her arms.
"I kept waking up in the middle of the night and I would glance over at him," Domasin said. "I just kept saying to myself 'he's my son.' "