Monday, April 16, 2018

Affordable IVF for Nigerian Couples

Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) has solicited for partnership to achieve affordable Assisted Reproductive Technology, ART, popularly known as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) for indigent infertile couples.

The Teaching hospital, recorded a milestone of 74 live births at its Institute of Fertility Medicine, IFM, department of Obstetrics and Gynecology through the ART, under its Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with a private Fertility facility, The Bridge Clinic.

Speaking at the institute’s celebration of the milestone, the Chief Medical Director, LASUTH, Prof. Adewale Oke, represented by the Director of Clinical Services and Training, Dr Ayoade Adedokun lamented that many homes have been broken with so many women shattered emotionally due to infertility issues, adding that the IFM partnership with the Bridge Clinic which have produce 74 babies since its inception in 2011 have will bring smiles to these women as well as others who can’t afford the high cost.

According to the hospital’s Chairman of IFM Board, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, the cost of one ART cycle in private facilities ranges from N1 million to N2 million, with the institute providing same quality service at N500, 000 at the moment, adding that plans are underway to further reduce the price to as low as N250, 000 to ensure that all indigent couples have opportunity to have their own babies, which could be achieved through partnership.
“The IFM aims to bring the use of ART at a highly affordable rate to indigent patients who battle infertility but unable to afford the high expense of procuring available ART service from a normal setting. The idea of the partnership is to reduce cost by 50 per cent and even further bring it down by 25 per cent. ART is the technology used to achieve pregnancy in procedures such as fertility medication, in vitro fertilization, IVF and surrogacy. It is reproductive technology used primarily for infertility treatments, and is also known as fertility treatment,” he said.

Adetokunbo explained: “The idea was that the Bridge Clinic would partner with LASUTH’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecologist and in the process transfer knowledge and technology over five years to LASUTH. The technology is able to bypass a lot infertility hurdle to achieve conception. Yet, globally, only 35 per cent success rate could be achieved in the use of ART. IFM has recorded between 38 to 40 per cent success rate so far. To achieve 25 per cent further reduction, IFM would partner some pharmaceutical companies to get drugs at a very cheap rate, and this would enable the facility further reduce the cost of a circle of ART by N150, 000.

“So far, originally the IFM aims to achieve autonomy and break away from the Bridge Clinic after five years of the initiative, but now the MOU has lasted six years

Fabamwo added that there was the need to train more fertility experts in the hospital as only two persons had been trained as consultants on fertility matters in the hospital.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, the Bridge Clinic, Dr. Jide Ojo, said that IVF awareness was low in the country, with many dying in silence because they feel stigmatised and do not know where to seek help, adding that there is the need for more awareness so that a lot of people will know where to go to access these services.

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