VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Before she was in her mother’s womb and long before her parents held her for the very first time, Maisie Stromberg spent nearly nine years frozen as an embryo. 

Maisie is now four months old. She’s a happy, healthy baby and a blessing to parents Erin and Tim. 

The Strombergs spent seven years trying to get pregnant. Nothing worked and doctors could not explain what was wrong. 

“It took some time to even wrap our heads around that. To think we’re not going to have our own biological child,” explained Tim.

“So then the next step is we either don’t have kids or we adopt,” continued Erin. 

Regular adoption didn’t feel like the right fit for the Strombergs. Then a doctor told them about embryo adoption. 

It works like this, the embryos typically come from families who have been through In Vitro Fertilization known as IVF. They have extra embryos and don’t want more children. Those embryos are frozen and kept at the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Maisie spent nine years there as a frozen embryo. When the Strombergs decided to adopt, her embryo was transferred to Erin’s womb. 

“The nice thing is that I can give birth to our adopted daughter,” explained Erin. “Then also nurse her and breastfeed.” 

It was a difficult pregnancy ending in a long labor, however the struggle seems to have only solidified that special bond between mother and child.      

“She was in labor for almost 24 hours so that was just the last exhausting, mentally exhausting piece at the finish line to have Maisie at the end of it,” said Tim.  

Having a four month old is far from easy, but these new parents cherish every minute of it. 

So far there have been 777 babies born from the National Embryo Donation Center. Three thousand more remain frozen in time at a lab, waiting for the right parents to come along. 

Officials with the national embryo adoption center say they expect to reach the 800 baby milestone by early next year if not sooner.