The gaps created in some Nigerian homes today by childlessness are better imagined than experienced especially in this part of the world where procreation is seen as the crux of a marriage relationship rather than companionship. Though, most affected couples don’t like to talk about it, the fact still remains that infertility is on the rise in the country and the world at large.
According to research, one out of every five couples is fertility-challenged, thereby making the need for assisted reproductive treatment inevitable. Since the advancement in technology and medicine has practically made it possible for couples with fertility problems to have their own biological children through various assisted reproductive techniques such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), experts are therefore, calling on affected couples to come out of their shells and tap from the opportunities provided by the science-driven procedure.
Though affordability had been identified as one of the major factors preventing fertility- challenged couples from embracing the treatment. Consequently, to help indigent couples with fertility challenge become happy parents, the management of Fertility Treatment Support Foundation (FTSF) in partnership with Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos/Asaba/Abuja, has announced free assisted reproductive treatment campaigns for this group of couples in order to keep their dreams alive.
Five Nigerian indigent couples according to FTSF stand to benefit from the fully- funded fertility treatment contest which began on 17th September and ends on 18th October,2015. The theme of the 2015 contest which is open to all indigent Nigerian childless couples from all regions of the country is “Little Miracles”.
The FTSF campaign also serves as an awareness platform which provides informative and enlightenment program to the public and the medical professionals on issues bothering on infertility. Announcing the commencement of the contest in Lagos weekend, a Lead Counsellor for FTSF, Mama Esther Adigwe, said the foundation was poised to bring joy and happiness to a lot of couples trying to conceive by giving away free fertility screening and full treatment to fertility challenged couples via the “Little Miracles” contest.
Adigwe said 15 couples will stand a chance to receive the free screening while five couples will receive the full free treatment which she said, will be done via an electronic raffle draw and will take place on 25th October,2015. According to her, FTSF formerly known as Expanded Access to Reproductive Treatment (EART) Foundation was established in 2008 to assist less privileged couples with fertility problem, as a result of the increasing prevalence of infertility in the society. Available statistics show that infertility is one of the leading causes of social frustration and marginalization, particularly in developing countries.
It is also said to affect over 20 per cent of couples worldwide, with male infertility contributing for about half of the cases. Adigwe affirmed that the foundation over the years had provided free fertility screening and treatment to over 126 less privileged couples as FTSF contribution to helping them realise their baby dream particularly those under intense emotional pressure due cultural norms as regards child bearing as well as not having the capacity to undertake a fertility procedure, due to its cost implication.
“Having children is the most natural process .But today, due to diverse challenges faced by couples, the process to conceive is being paid for. This is why the foundation each year, supports couples by giving free treatment and screening to the fertility challenged couples”, she explained. To participate, all that any fertility challenged couple needs to do is to send a text,SMS with the title Free IVF, names and phone numbers to these numbers: 090811190600 or 08080800156.
Only two entries are allowed per couple using two different telephone numbers in order to increase their chances. She urged affected couples to embrace the opportunity and also speak out on time, so that they are be better educated and given necessary assistance they to have their own biological children.
Sharing his experience on the initiative since its existence in the last seven years, Lead Medical Consultant of FTSF and Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre,, Lagos, Asaba and Abuja, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, identified age as a challenge in gaining from the free treatment by some successful couples at the contest, pointing out that some of them were too old for the procedure.
“We had some patients who are not really ideal for IVF. Some of them are very old and they take wrong decisions. Some of the women at the age of 45, they want to use their egg. We had a case of two people who lost their pregnancies. They had miscarriage as a result of old age. And some of the patients, because is not their money, they took wrong decisions” he said.
Ajayi also said that some of the indigent fertility-challenged couples who scaled through the contest sometimes, present with some other serious health issues that were not incorporated into the program, thereby, making the treatment difficult. He explained: “Many of them had other issues.
For example, there was one woman who got pregnant on her own after we treated her. But, what we did was that, we saw that there was something actually occupying where the baby should stay and this woman had been bleeding irregularly. She had been to hospitals, I don’t know what they were doing for her. But, what we needed to do, was just to do endoscopic surgery. That is, go to the uterus and remove that lump. But, before then, when we did her blood level, the blood level was very low, she probably would have just clocked one day and would have died.
So, when we just removed that lump, the next thing was that she got pregnant on her own.” He assured that the foundation will continue to seek new innovative ways of bringing smiles to families with fertility problem. “This year, we are trying to make it better by offering treatment to five families at a goal. We all know about the economic situation of the country. But, we hope to make it better for some families ”, he noted. Also speaking, Clinic Manager, Nordica Fertility Centre, Mrs. Tola Ajayi, advised couples experiencing challenges in conception, not to allow the situation make them loose interest in having sex, stressing that sex is critical to conception.
– Angela Onwuzoo