19 February 2013

Nigeria: New Technology Brings Hope to Infertile Couple

Infertile couples go through a daily psychological trauma. In a couple of cases, inability to conceive and bear children after a few years of marriage has resulted in dissolution of such marriage and in worse case scenario death of either of the couple.

Incidentally, the Invitro Fertilisation, IVF was discovered some years back to serve as alternative means through which couples could eventually bear their own children.

The IVF process of conception, as effective as it turned out, is found to be too expensive for the middle or low income earner who finds himself with fertility problems.

While in most countries where technology in health has advanced, the cost of procuring the IVF treatment is within the reach of everyone, only people who can afford it travel abroad for the IVF treatment. Even in a few Nigerian clinics where the IVF treatment is available, the cost is usually on the high side.

However, a Nigerian gynaecologist also trained in the UK, Dr Eloka Manakaya, who recently put laughter in the mouths of a couple who had been branded barren when he assisted them through safe delivery, said low and middle income earners can now smile with a new technology for fertility treatment.

The chief medical director of Amana Medical Centre, operators of Frankcare Fertility Clinic, spoke with LEADERSHIP on the new technology for fertility treatment.

According to him, the cost of fertility treatment in Nigeria could come crashing if more clinics are encouraged to engage in the practice. He also averred that government's intervention could bring succour to affected couples.

" I'm here to intimate about the success we have achieved here. You. Know infertility in Africa is rising. This crop of infertility or what we call barrenness, is on the increase more in Africa than any part of the world.

This is due to what we call STD, Sexually Transmitted Disease. It could be caused by illegal abortion and many other conditions. And because of this situation, luckily for couples now, there is a new technology which is more modern than the Invitro Fertilisation, it is called Intra, Cyptoplastic Sperm Injection, ICSI.

"What happens to the sperm is that, at times it might get to the female egg and it will not penetrate. The female egg has a shell and so the sperm gets there and it would not penetrate. So when we get tothat situation, what we now do in this modern technology is to inject the sperm directly into the egg," he said.

Dr Menakaya disclosed that with the dynamic nature of technology development the problems associated with infertility would soon be a thing of the past.

"When I started this clinic, I wanted to use it to help people because Invitro Fertilisation is so expensive in this country. In India, it costs about a 1000 dollars, that's about N160,000. In Nigeria it costs more than a million naira, which only the rich can afford. The middle class and the poor people can hardly afford it.

So what we intend to do here is to get as many doctors as possible to start it. Some clinics have started it but the cost is still very expensive.

"As you all know, government does not cover infertility treatment. Even in the National Health Insurance Scheme, it is 13 on the exclusion list and insurance does not cover infertility anywhere in the world. Here we have more important ailments that government is covering. I'm not saying infertility is not important but government does not cover it.

There are other important things that are more life threatening such as malaria and HIV. Infertility is not life threatening but it can be traumatic for the couples affected by it.

"So that is why we decided to start this here. Luckily, we've had our first success, we delivered our first baby on the 24th of January by Ceaseran section and the baby and mother are all well and alive.

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