Wednesday, September 7, 2011

M&M IVF Centres for Abuja & Nassarawa: IVF Doctors urged to be Patient Friendly

The National President of the Naval Officers Wives Association Hajia Aminat Dupe Ibrahim has urged In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) doctors to be friendly to patients to encourage more people to treat infertility.

IVF is a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the body. She made the remarks yesterday during the commissioning ceremony of the M&M IVF Centre in the Nigerian Navy Post Service Housing Estate, Karshi, Nasarawa State.

She said IVF is a major treatment of infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. She urged medical personnel at the centre to be patient-friendly so as to offer best treatment and pull more patients to them.

The proprietor of the centre, Dr. Prosper Igboeli said the centre will offer services to the communities around as best as it could, adding that the facility is for the treatment of infertility in women.

The Emir of Karshi, Dr. Muhammadu Bako II called on the proprietor to establish a male IVF centre and a general medical centre for the benefit of communities around.

The President of the Nigerian Medical Association Dr. Omede Idris said the establishment of more IVF centres will certainly address infertility among couples.

The Managing Director of the Navy Post Service Housing Scheme Rear Admiral Itunu Hotonu said the centre is established to improve medical care of retired personnel and others living with them in the estate.



F ORTY million Nigerians are said to be affected by infertility, a disorder of the reproductive system hindering conception.

Consequently, the wife of the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) and National President of Naval Officers' Wives Association (NOWA), Hajia Aminat Ibrahim, has urged Nigerians to embrace In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) as a more effective method of assisted reproductive technology.

Hajia Ibrahim, who spoke at the inauguration of IVF and Medical Centre at the Nigerian Navy Post Service Housing Estate in Abuja, said couples who are still looking up to God for children should not shy away from seeking the technology that has been proven to be effective. "IVF is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside of the body. It is a major treatment in fertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. She also noted that with the availability of the IVF services, the country would have saved enormous foreign exchange and prevent capital flight from the economy as many of those that can afford it would want to seek such services abroad.

While commending the Proprietor of the hospital, Dr. Prosper Igboeli, for the bold initiative, Ibrahim urged infertile couples to take advantage of the technology.

In his remarks, Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Bala Mohammed, expressed concern over infertility rate in the country, saying it is growing to a ‘worrisome level’ with 25 per cent of Nigerians population confirmed as affected. He said: "In economically depressed world of today, where many people are grappling with stress of living, the consequences of infertility on the society can best be imagined". Though he revealed that the FCT administration was working towards mitigating the effect of infertility through preventive measure, Mohammed urged the new hospital and others to work to mitigate the effect of infertility and also urged them to join in the prevention of infertility and other reproductive complications as part of its community service".

Dr Igboeli said the motivation behind the setting up of the hospital was to serve humanity, noting that every couple deserves to have children.


More Options for Couple to Make Babies Outside Bedrooms

A growing number of Nigerians are having difficulties in making babies through natural methods that are often limited to the bedrooms, but Assisted Reproduction expert, Dr. Richardson Ajayi, says this could be achieved outside the bedrooms using scientifically proven methods.Ajayi, who is Managing Director of assisted conception centre, The Bridge Clinic, also disclosed that conception for people who are having difficulties in that regard has been made easier by processes like In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) among others that are currently available at the Bridge.He disclosed recently in Port Harcourt that The Bridge has helped couples achieved no fewer than 231 conceptions using assisted reproductive techniques carried out in the Port Harcourt clinic alone.Ajayi noted that the inability of some couples to conceive children in the convenience of their bedroom show that there is a medical problem, for which reprieve could come through IVF and other methods.Ajayi said The Bridge Clinic, which was established in 1999 with the Lagos Clinic, has expanded to other parts of the country, providing additional number of Nigerians with the chance of achieving conception where it was impossible through the natural method."We branched out to Port-Harcourt in 2003 and the Port-Harcourt clinic has registered 231 successful births since inception. We are still expanding as we currently have five clinics; 2 in Lagos, one in Port-Harcourt, one in Kaduna and the recently opened Institute of Fertility Medicine (IFM) at the Lagos State University offering IVF services at a highly subsidised rate," Ajayi disclosed.IVF is a method of creating an artificial environment for a natural process, similar to that present in the human womb, to occur and enable the couple achieve a pregnancy. The inability of achieving a pregnancy stems mostly from infertility, which arises due to various causative factors." Dr Ajayi also noted that various causes of infertility can broadly be classified as ovarian problems, uterine problems, tubal problems and semen abnormalities; adding that all are cases where IVF offers a solution."The purpose of IVF is to allow the sperm and egg to meet. This is the main challenge with the causes of infertility and IVF is the hallmark of treatment"," he said.With regards to standards and regulation in the clinic Ajayi said, "We have a duty and responsibility to provide our clients with the same standard of healthcare that is acceptable in the United Kingdom and other European countries because there is and should be only one standard for healthcare delivery."Meanwhile Ajayi disclosed that The Bridge is set to champion regulation of IVF in Nigeria which has slowly and gradually become an all-comers affair. A Think-Tank session was held in Lagos recently in that regard, conclusions from which would be presented to relevant authorities. The Bridge Clinic anchored a plenary session at the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON) conference in Abuja last year and the focus of this was the drive for regulation. This was followed by a formal submission to the SOGON council for ratification.The Bridge Clinic is Nigeria's first assisted conception centre. It pioneered IVF services in Nigeria in 1999 and has recorded more than 1,252 successes since its inception.

Expert seeks regulation of IVF in Nigeria

The Chairman, the Bridge Clinic Board of Directors, Chief Dr. Oluyomi Abayomi Finnih, delivering his address at the opening of the Institute of Fertility Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital funded by the Bridge Clinic

Dr. Richardson Adedayo Ajayi, Managing Director of the Bridge Clinic, Nigeria’s foremost internationally certified Intro-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) services organisation has called for the regulation of IVF services in the country saying this would help in guaranteeing quality in that sector. Speaking at a media interaction in Port Harcourt recently, Dr. Ajayi noted that proper regulation of IVF services would ensure that those who require the services would have enough faith in the system instead of going abroad to get the services.

He disclosed that the country was losing huge revenue that would have accrued to her, due to peoples’ preference to travelling abroad to assess the technology on because of quality assurance. He pointed out that lack of regulation was opening the sector to ill-trained and ill-equipped people to crash into the IVF field thus underscoring the need for urgent and decisive intervention by government to regulate the sector. “Nigeria is loosing healthcare dollars in the absence of regulation concerning IVF, because most people prefer to travel abroad to get it done, because they do not have trust in the system.

“This lack of trust centres on confidentiality, exploitation, safety, among others, created by the absence of regulation. IVF is not cheap; it requires a lot of technology, in terms of equipment and staff. “The Bridge Clinic was set up to provide high quality fertility treatment including IVF and Intra cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) in Nigeria. We have been assisting couples experiencing difficulty with conception since 1999 and with the birth of over 1,100 babies.

“It is the first focused IVF clinic in the country, with the objective of providing Nigerians with the same standard of fertility treatment available in the United Kingdom ,” Ajayi said. As a way of leading the advocacy for regulation and ethics in the sector, Ajayi further said the Bridge Clinic organised an ethical think- tank session recently in Lagos which arrived at some recommendations which has been sent to the federal government for action. Also as part the clinic’s corporate social responsibility, Ajayi said the Clinic recently established the Institute of Fertility Medicine (IFM) in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in partnership with the Lagos State government, to lower the cost IVF services to Nigerians.



It does not require millions of naira anymore for a Nigerian family faced with infertility to travel abroad and achieve pregnancy. This cost has rather reduced to as low as N500, 000, according to BusinessDay findings.

This cost stops at planting a fertilised egg in the womb, and often only 25 percent of this effort results to actual pregnancy. This means that you may have to pay another N500, 000 (may be, with some discounts), if pregnancy fails to result from this expensive venture, according to BusinessDay investigations.

To even bring the cost lower to the range of the poor, one of the foremost clinics pioneering decent practices in In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) techniques, the Bridge Clinic, is building collaborative networks with state governments and organisations to help subsidise the cost to as low as N300,000.

Bridge Clinic operators are, however, worried that due to lack of any kind of regulation in the IVF practice in Nigeria , incompetent and unethical methods have crept into the scene, ‘just for the money.’

Before now, affected Nigerian families flocked abroad to achieve pregnancy to get a baby for whatever amount, and that was how Richardson Adedayo Ajayi, a Nigerian medical (IVF) expert then in London met desperate Nigerian mothers and decided to bring the technology home to help out. Now, mothers can get their dream pregnancies at very cheap financial costs. So far, 1252 babies have come to the world in Nigeria through this method at the Bridge Clinic headed by Ajayi with the close technical support of the likes of Peter Hollands (the renowned scientists who was part of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown) and Louise Crowe, a nursing services expert with many years of clinical and administrative practice.

The major breakthrough, perhaps, in the IVF research in Nigeria , according to Ajayi, who stormed the Garden City to continue his fight against unethical intrusion in the IVF world, is the message that infertility cannot be a spiritual problem but purely a medical case. Any of four problems can hinder a woman from achieving pregnancy- problems with the egg, the sperm, the tube or the uterus. “I have not seen any infertility case that did not touch any of the above four,” Ajayi said.

Insisting that IVF practitioners do not make life, Ajayi said medical experts merely intervene to help the interaction of the four parts mentioned above to produce pregnancy and help raise a baby, and warned that infection (some caused by bad abortion) was a major cause of tube-blocking. He explained how fibroids destroy the uterus and stop pregnancies.

Despite the intimidating fees, the chief clinical director said not more than 25 per cent of attempts would result in pregnancy, whether by natural means or by IVF. “We do our best but only God allows the fertilisation to occur, whether in the bedroom or in the laboratory.”

Many African countries now look up to the Bridge Clinic for babies and even Europeans flock to the Bridge to achieve pregnancies. Ajayi said this was due to the certification his clinic got from the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and other international bodies on a yearly renewal basis.

This allows the Bridge to carry out works in intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), surgical sperm collection (SSC), ovum (egg) donation, Embryo Freezing, Semen Freezing, etc, sperm storage, family balancing, IVF surgery, donor sperm services, etc, which seem to justify the cost profile. In all these, Ajayi said the Bridge Clinic posed huge clinical advantage due to international collaboration, experience, high-tech prowess, and high ethical insistence.

In Port Harcourt , the rate of success has been high, he disclosed. The expert attributed this to early attention, saying most pregnancy seekers in the region seek early medical (IVF) intervention instead of going to wrong places where issues would be complicated before resorting to medical intervention, now with higher costs and higher failure rates.

On why many Nigerian IVF pregnancies lead to multiple babies, the expert said many doctors insert up to seven fertilised eggs instead of recommended maximum two. “They are eager to achieve results and so they resort to unethical methods,” he said.

Ajayi is carrying his campaign for ethical IVF practice in Nigeria and a strong call for regulation to all parts of Nigeria . His group may be drafting a memorandum that helps craft a legislation, as he said the lack of regulation had brought absence of trust in IVF practice in Nigeria , and eventual capital flight. “Most civilised people do not accept anything that does not have a seal of regulatory certification, and what they do is to travel to where such seals exist. This is why we insist on a regulated IVF environment,” he declared in Port Harcourt where he held sessions with various stakeholders in the field, including journalists and medical doctors.


Infertility: Nordica offers free IVF

Research has shown that one out of every four couples or 25 percent of couples have fertility problems and would require one sort of intervention or the other, which is part of the reasons why we have appreciable demand of Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) solutions such as the popular In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

Recently, the excitement was quite high at the Banquet Hall of the Grand Hotel, Asaba Delta State on the occasion of this year’s draws of the Fertility Treatment Support Foundation (FTSF) initiative implemented in partnership with Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos/Asaba. According to the Medical Director of Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, the idea of organising a public draw, in which 16 Nigerian couples across the federation would, over a two-year period, have opportunity to access series of free IVF cycles under the FTSF initiative formerly known as E.A.R.T (Expanded Access for Reproduction Techniques) and was established as a result of the prevalence of infertility in our society today.

“Affordability of treatment is one of the most common causes for concern of the fertility-challenged couples as a regular IVF cycle in any standard fertility treatment facility costs an average of N650, 000 to N1, 000,000 depending on the clinic and profile of the case. As a result, many couples desirous of conceiving their own babies have been denied the opportunity to have access to the initiative, due to their inability to afford the cost. Hence, to keep the dream of fertility-challenged couples alive, FTSF was born.”

The FTSF has, for years, been committed to the goal of giving 16 lucky Nigerians completely free IVF treatment cycle over a space of two years. The initiative was put together as a platform for enabling all fertilitychallenged Nigerian couples, to have access to the best and most advanced assisted fertility treatment services in the world, at no cost. The two lucky couples, who ultimately emerged from the raffle draw, will benefit from a full IVF or combination fertility treatment novel initiatives. This translates into two Nigerians every quarter.


Bridge Clinic launches LASUTH IVF Facility in Lagos

NIGERIA’S foremost IVF and assisted conception clinic, The Bridge Clinic, has launched an IVF facility known as the Institute of Fertility Medicine in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) with the Commissioner of Health, Jide Idris, and other dignitaries, in attendance.

The facility, which is a CSR initiative by The Bridge Clinic, is in collaboration with the Lagos State Government and is one that will offer IVF services at subsidised rates to couples who have had difficulty in conception.
Speaking at the launch of the Institute of Fertility Medicine in the LASUTH Complex, the Managing Director of The Bridge Clinic, Dr. Richardson Ajayi, said: “Of utmost importance and concern to us is the well being and happiness of the Nigerian woman and our community at large in the provision of quality fertility services as the same global standard we are known for.

“This is why at The Bridge Clinic we have found it necessary to collaborate with the State Government to set up this clinic as part of our CSR initiative, to reach out to more needing families to help them experience the joy of childbirth, and also try to give back to the community that has given us so much.”

Ajayi said since the IVF procedure involved the employment of expensive resources, such as highly trained staff, expensive equipment and consumables, the cost especially in a developing economy like Nigeria could be high.
This, he said, “makes it unaffordable for the average woman.”

Also commenting on the launch, Idris said: “Lagos State is thrilled to be collaborating with The Bridge Clinic on the launch of this facility (Institute of Fertility Medicine) which will bring the IVF and other gynaecological services to the women of Lagos State at a highly subsidised rate.

“We have no doubt in our minds that The Bridge Clinic, being the first solely focused assisted conception clinic in Nigeria, will deliver top of the range services to every woman that walks through the doors of this new facility we are launching here today. The purpose of partnering with The Bridge Clinic is to ensure the goal of restoring the joy of families is achieved at a subsidized rate.”

Since its establishment in Nigeria, the clinic has achieved a number of firsts, the most notable being the first to achieve a birth by surrogacy and also the first to achieve a birth by Surgical Sperm Collection (SSC).
The clinic has recorded the birth of 1,252 children since opening its operations to the public in 1999.



Following revelations that many Nigerians seeking solution to infertility problems are falling into the hands of quacks, a fertility expert has advocated that In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) Treatment must be demystified in the country.

To this end, Prof. Oladapo Asiru, medical director, Medical Art Centre (MART), who made the call said most people with infertility problem that get pregnant and bear children through IVF should reveal the background of their story to encourage others with similar problems to access the same care.

IVF, which is a major treatment in infertility, is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the body: in vitro. IVF is used when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. The process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a fluid medium. The fertilised egg is then transferred to the patient’s uterus with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy. The first successful birth of the baby from this procedure, named, Louise Brown, occurred in 1978.

Speaking further on demystifying IVF, Ashiru who is an experienced endocrinologist and joint pioneer of IVF Research in Nigeria said, “The earlier IVF is demystified in this country, the better it is for the people,” and reasoned that the development will make the procedure a popular and acceptable treatment for infertility.

In addition, he said it will open the door for people to access IVF treatment from genuine and reputable fertility health facilities.

He made the call at a Clinical Presentation on High Incidence/Order of Multiple Pregnancies and Multiple Births in the Last Two Rears in the Medical Arts Centre at LOFUM House, Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos State.

According to Ashiru who founded the Medical Arts Centre and runs it with other fertility physicians and embryologists, many people in the country just get pregnant through IVF, but they do not reveal the success story behind the procedure of that conception and successful delivery.

However, he lamented that this problem of secrecy is not limited to infertility alone, adding that even regarding menopause, some women do not want to own up that they have attained menopause. “Whereas, menopause is a normal process of ageing”, said Ashiru..

He lamented that because there is not much awareness about IVF as a treatment option for infertility, people are going to wrong places and are being mistreated. “Some patients receive the worst of quackery,” said Ashiru.

On the successes recorded at the Medical Arts Centre in the area of multiple pregnancies and multiple births between 2009 and 2011, Ashiru said, “We recognise the fact that in 2009 series, we had mainly twin pregnancies while in 2010 series, we had higher number of gestations such as quintuplets. Thus, we reduced the number of embryos transferred in IVF treatment this year 2011.”

Explaining the reason why women seeking IVF treatment at the Medical Arts Centre are not only recording successful pregnancies, but also multiple babies in twins, triplets and even quadruplets, Ashiru said the multiple pregnancies at the centre are due to the effectiveness of the stimulation protocol, the efficiency of the laboratory, especially with Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), the high quality of embryos as well as the use of ultrasound guided embryo transfer. “We equally recognise the role of our pre-IVF evaluations such as Hysterosonography, ovarian improvement regime, and the use of immune support are contributing factors to the successes.

Besides, he noted that the quality of the embryos and success rate is due to additional services in the Medical Arts Centre such as the use of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and blastocyst transfer. PGD is a technique used to identify genetic defects in embryos, created through IVF before pregnancy).

Similarly, the centre has an efficient management team on ground. “Currently, at our centre, the overall pregnancy rate is about 45 per cent in all ages per embryo transfer,” said Ashiru.

Highlighting other reasons why people choose IVF treatment in other countries, he said the procedure is now being done for other reasons. “Some people are now doing IVF because of convenience,” he said.

For instance, a woman who is married to a pilot that is constantly traveling and is away from home may not be able to utilise the ovulation period and the woman can be missing intercourse during ovulation day for a whole year. “So, he just brings his sperm, stores it in the laboratory and when his wife is ovulating, the sperm will be used for her. So, IVF is now done as a programmed thing as well as for elderly patients to eliminate abnormality in their kids,” said Ashiru.