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When IVF Fails, Other Therapies Can Help

Monday, December 9, 2013

EXPLORING IVF TREATMENT IN NIGERIA


Infertility is not something people choose, yet one in every four couples in developing countries has been found to be affected, and more people are getting infertile. In view of this, Uche Uduma spoke with some fertility experts, in a bid to find out the procedure for fertility treatments in Nigeria.

In-vitro fertilisation is a conventionally assisted fertility technology whereby, an embryo is created outside the womb and then transferred back into the woman’s womb after fertilisation has occurred.

Before now, couples trying to have babies through IVF travelled abroad for treatment. However, in the past few years, fertility clinics have sprung up in different parts of the country. And this innovation has changed the prospect of thousands of couples that were unable to have children. For Maryam (surname withheld), a civil servant based in Abuja, the option of IVF treatment came up when she couldn’t conceive after 11 years of marriage.

According to her, “I opted for IVF with my husband after we had tried to have a baby without success. Three years ago, my husband suggested we try IVF. I wanted it abroad but my husband insisted we should do it in Nigeria. Both of us went through investigative laparoscopy to find the cause of the infertility, then we began the treatment. The whole IVF cycle took us about six weeks after which I was able to conceive.

However, the treatment failed after I had a miscarriage. I must tell you it was really painful because that was the first time I ever got pregnant and it was coming 11 years after we got married.  We gave it another shot, the second ,time it was easy. I knew what to expect and my husband too was very supportive. We went through the whole process together till I conceived again, this time it was successful. I am still thanking God”.

How In-Vitro Fertilisation Works

The Chief Embryologist, Nisa Premier Hospital, Abuja, Dr Rabi Ahmed-Odia who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday explained the procedure for conventional IVF.

According to her, “In vitro fertilisation means creating embryo and fertilising it outside the body while In-vivo means inside, that is when the sperm and the eggs come together in natural conception, everything takes place inside . But what we call conventional IVF means, mixing the sperms and the eggs together in a dish, and the following morning, one could check for fertilisation. 

In that case, within the maximum of 18 hours, one would see signs of fertilisation. Then we transfer it back into the patient. It basically means, creating embryos outside the womb. But if you do what we call Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) where we assist the sperm and inject it into the egg, then you can see signs of fertilisation in 13 hours.”

Available Range Of Fertility Treatment In Nigeria

Conventional fertility treatment in Nigeria today offers wide range of treatment options available anywhere around the world. 

The Chairman and Founder of Nisa Premier Hospital, Dr Ibahim Wada, who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday, stated that all the procedures that are available anywhere in the world are now available in Nigeria.

 “I can’t think of any procedure that is available anywhere in the world that is not available here in Nisa Premier Hospital. We do In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI),  sperm storage, Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) as well as blastocyst culture. We have facilities for vitrification and offer all the services that any fertility centre can provide.

Dr Wada further revealed that medication and operation are conventional methods used in treating infertility.

According to him, “on woman’s side, we have conventional treatment, one of which  is to give tablets to the patient so that she can ovulate because her problem is that she cannot produce eggs. Another one is sometimes to operate the patient,usually with blocked tubes. The tube is where the egg and the sperm meet so if it becomes blocked you are infertile.

Therefore, there is a conventional treatment of operating on the fallopian tube to try to open it up or removing fibroid that has been distorting the womb and making it difficult for the woman to conceive.

“On the man’s side, there are also conventional methods; a man with low sperm count will benefit from some drugs depending on why he has low sperm count. A man could have low sperm count from what is called varicocele. In such case, operation could be done to correct the varicocele.

Cost of IVF

The Chief Embryologist, Nisa Premier Hospital, Abuja, Dr Ahmed-Odia, explained that the cost of IVF treatment largely depends on the patient’s age as it affects the cost. “The cost of drugs can range between N300,000 to N1million, if the woman is a lot older. But if the woman is younger, it will be cheaper in  terms of the amount of money for the drugs, usually between N250,000 to N300,000. Everything that we use is imported which means, with technical fees, everything will be about N850,000. So, it is based on the patient’s age and the type of procedure.”

Factors That Determine IVF Success Rate

The Chairman and Founder of Nisa Premier Hospital, Dr Ibrahim Wada, also stated that the success in IVF treatment include quality of the sperm, quality of the eggs and the patient’s age.

“The older a woman gets, the less the quality of her eggs and the less quality of the embryo that comes from those eggs.  Most importantly, the womb lining has to be receptive to the embryos. Success rate varies from centre to centre, most importantly according the patient’s age. Here if one is under 30, the success rate is over 60 per cent. If 30 to 35 years,  the success is about 50 per cent and if 35 to 40, it is about 40 per cent. If the patient is over 40 years, it is about 33 per ent. But here in Abuja, I’m glad to tell you that our own range is 40 to 60 per cent which is the result you expect from any of the best centres in the world.

So, in my view, the success rate compared to that of UK is very good. We started this journey in Abuja 15 years ago and at the last count, we have had over 15,000 babies.”

Risk Associated With IVF

Dr Wada, disclosed that the most common risk associated with IVF is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). “When we give the drugs to a woman so that she can produce many eggs, some over react.

Though the dose maybe low, their body might be sensitive. In particular, these are women with polycystic ovaries; they produce more than 15-20 eggs at a time so the ovary gets tired and it starts loosing fluid into the abdomen. The abdomen can become swollen and painful. They are very mild cases and the women don’t need treatment to recover.”
by Uche Uduma

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