Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Having Bundles of Joy Through IVF - How Affordable?

analysis

Most couples yearn for children who represent their union and signify their future. However for a significant number of couples, researchers have found out that for about 1 in every 4 couples, this desire cannot be fulfilled without some assistance. However, In- Vitro fertility (IVF) has been a solution to many couples facing infertility problems in Nigeria, but can the average Nigerian really afford it? AMARACHI EGBEOGU writes.

Some couples have had varying challenges with the process, others have a different story to tell about IVF, an emerging pancea to infertility, especially in Nigeria. IVF has been a solution to the stigmatisation of infertility in marriages especially here in Nigeria.

In-vitro fertililisation is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the body. IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technolgy have failed.

Although IVF is gaining popularity in Nigeria, many people are not totally aware of the process, the running costs, the clinics or centres where IVF treatment is performed, the success rates and also its implications and challenges.

Due to the stigmatization in this part of the world, couples who try IVF keep it confidential, and as a result of that, people do not know much about it or how it works.

IVF may be used to overcome female infertility due to problems of the fallopian tube, making fertilisation in vivo difficult. It may also assist in male infertility, where there is defect in sperm quality and in such cases intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be used, where a sperm cell is injected directly into the egg cell.

This is used when sperm has difficulty penetrating the egg, and in these cases the partner's or donor's sperm count is very low. ICSI results in success rates equal to those of IVF.

In the course of this research, people who have IVF where found and here are some of the things they had to share:

Farouq, an engineer who lives in Maitama claims that he and his two siblings have done IVF. Sharing his experience, he said he had his set of twins three years ago through IVF but that he was extremely reluctant before the process because he was scared and he knew little or nothing about it.

" I fought with my wife for a very long time because she kept talking to me about us trying IVF and I wasn't interested" Farouq said " though I spent almost N3,000,000, but am a happier man today because my little angels give me so much joy and also make me a proud father" he added. "My sister and her husband who did IVF got quadruplets, although one died before birth the three are very strong and healthy" he concluded.

"When I had my first IVF treatment in a clinic in Lagos, I was admitted for 3days after the egg recovery because of the pains, hyperstimulation and so on and there were still no results.

I was surprised that I did the same egg recovery in another fertility clinic in Lagos, I was able to drive home within an hour and also had positive results afterwards," Mrs Ajayi explained. She added that the professionalism, the results and the love shown is all that matters, and not the cost.

IVF, if not done by experts can be very challenging, but in any case there are more recorded success rates today. For IVf to be successful, it typically requires healthy ova, sperm that can fertilize and a uterus that can maintain pregnancy.

A civil servant who pleaded for anonymity for personal reasons, said she had some challenges in the past with IVF. She explained how scary it was when after the transfer of the egg she bled after 3days and eventually lost the pregnancy. She said she is taking her time to look for a good clinic.

Not many Nigerians can afford to do IVF because of the cost. Most doctors say it is very expensive in Nigeria because of the power situation.

Faced with the challenge of payment for the procedure, a couple who reside in Nyanyan, Abuja, who have been married for 11 years without any success in getting pregnant say they hope to visit the fertility clinic but they cannot afford it right now because they do not have enough funds for it.

"Traveling out does not guarantee the success rate, it is your knowledge and how up to date you are and your ability to play God less that determines your success as a fertility Surgeon. I trained in Canada and it is the same procedure you will go through so be guided"advises Dr M. Haastrup .

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