The introduction of invitro-fertilisation technology into the country has brought the desired succour to most couples despite its staggering cost. - The challenge of infertility among couples can be appreciated when one is faced with it than when one is told. This was the case with the Okafor family who lived with this through their 13 years of marriage.
Mrs. Mma Okafor, a middle aged housewife is today a proud mother of a set of triplets after undergoing invitro-fertilisation.
Mrs. Okafor like many Nigerians who are faced with the reality of infertility, is now singing songs of praise courtesy of the conception technology. She told Newsworld that her long awaited years of expectation was full of depression and isolation because of the rejection she suffered from friends, in-laws, family members and people around her.But today Mrs. Mma Okafor like many other women is basking in the euphoria of motherhood through the success of invitro-fertilisation.
The first lady of Oyo State, Mrs. Kemi Alao-Akala is also a beneficiary of invitro-fertilisation, IVF.
Invitro-fertilisation is basically fertilisation of the female eggs with the male sperm outside the body of the woman. This technology was originally planned for women with blocked tubes and those with ovulating disorders. The phenomenon simply means that the tubes are opened but the ovaries are not releasing the required eggs.
Medical experts say another problem is rearing its ugly head in the form of a sizeable proportion of males having abnormalities in the quality of semen they produce. This category of men suffers problems ranging from low sperm count to very low or even absence of sperm.
IVF also helps women without wombs to have children through surrogacy. This means that women who are over 60 years can have children through this technology.
The chief consultant of the invitro-fertilisation unit of the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Olubunmi Ladipo in a chat withNewsworld, said that though IVF is a new technology that assists conception, the success rate is not always 100 percent anywhere in the world. Basically, the success of the process is related to the age of the woman; the older the woman, the less the success. For those who want it, it is better to seek for assistance early in life, he pointed out. There are different types of IVF. The first is ‘programmed intercourse’ which entails giving drugs to the woman to produce egg and when it matures, the couple meet. There is Intrauterine Insemination, invitro-fertilisation and intracytoplasmic injection, ICSI.
Experts say in the country today, rampant infertility is giving rise to the use of IVF. And infertility in women is said to be caused by many factors like tube blockage, widely regarded as secondary infection, to sexually transmitted diseases, STDs, after either aortal infection or even after delivery in an unhygienic environment."All these are preventable because a good number of those who seek IVF are those who did not take preventive measures, otherwise they would not have any need for it," Dr. Ladipo emphasised.Corroborating Dr. Ladipo’s views, a fertility consultant at Dove Fertility and IVF Centre, Dr. Efena Egetie told this magazine that IVF also assists women who menstruate without releasing eggs. He stated that their eggs are harvested and mixed with the sperm scientifically to cause conception. The doctor who admitted that he has handled about 200 cases was quick to add that the success of IVF depends on the age of the patient and their hormonal profile. However, some medical experts have confirmed that IVF conception depends on luck because usually out of every 10 women who undergo this procedure, only two may become pregnant.Although this technology is putting smiles on the faces of average income infertile couples, the cost is such that most Nigerians cannot afford it. This is why it is considered as an elitist technology.
According to Dr. Efetie, in IVF pregnancies, after the third day, insemination becomes complete. He stressed that this accounts for the difficulty in differentiating between an IVF pregnancy from the normal one."But at the end of the full pregnancy period, most patients undergo caesarean operation to deliver their babies. Also, all babies born through this technology are normal like other naturally conceived humans," he further stated.
The National Hospital, since it commenced the IVF Unit in 2006 has handled about 500 cases at the cost of N300, 000 per patient.
At the Kings Care Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Madu Eghosa, an Embryologist at the Hospital’s IVF Unit told this reporter that the hospital has so far handled over 2,000 cases at the cost of N1.6 million for patients receiving treatment in batches and N2.1 million for individuals.According to the doctor, the inhibiting factors of IVF are finance and the African belief, which discourages people from seeking this help.Another inhibition identified is stigmatisation, which medical experts say contributes to people shying away from confessing openly that they conceived their babies through IVF technology.