By Sola Ogundipe
IT was a day of festive fun on Saturday June 6, 2009 at the Murhi Okunlola Park, Victoria Island, Lagos, when the Bridge Clinic, a leading fertility clinic in Lagos, organised a childrenâ€™s party to herald its success 10th year of successful assisted reproductive interventions in the form of IVF.
The event was in line with the institutionâ€™s tradition of celebrating achievement through showcasing children born through its IVF procedures, a leading fertility clinic in Lagos.
Several dozens of excited children, accompanied by their equally joyous parents, friend and well wishers thronged the popular recreation spot. The children participated in dancing and other competitions and winners were given vouchers to shop at The Games Shopping Centre. They were also treated to music and sumptuous meals through out the event.
Prominent amongst the guests were Mr Oladeinde Gomez and his wife Tope Gomez – parents Damilola -Â the very first child born through IVF at the hospital 10 years ago.
For the Gomezs, the intervention remains a major turning point in the life of the family. They commended the excellent quality of service and the dedication of the work forceÂ which they described as a model for IVF practice in Nigeria.
Another couple, JohnÂ and Gloria Akinleye also described the high level of professionalism at The Bridge Clinic as a major source of motivation and patronage, a factor that has led to the breakthrough recorded by the clinic in the past years.
On the perceived stigmatisation of IVF, the couples advised those who have benefited from IVF to come out open on the efficacy of the system and the result, adding that such measure of confidence would encourage other people to seek and get help from the system.
Along with a host of others some of who pleaded anonymity, they were full of thanks for the joy of parenthood, courtesy The Bridge Clinic.
In a chat, the Medical Director Dr. Richardson Ajayi, describedÂ the celebration as a yearly event but noted that the 10th anniversary celebration is even more significant given that this year marks a major milestone.
He said the occasion is the celebration of the phenomenal achievement of an intervention in reproductive health that has been markedly successful in Nigeria and indeed Sub-Saharan Africa.
â€œAs a medical doctor, I spent many years training and practicing in the United Kingdom. While there I saw many Nigerians coming for fertility treatment. I became interested in how to assist many of these people and knowing that one in four Nigerian women experience difficulty in child birth, it will be difficult to break the barrier of infertility without IVF in this country.â€
On the standard of practice at The Bridge Clinic, Dr. Ajayi noted that the standard of facilities and the level of professionalism are benchmarked on international best practice.
The Bridge Clinic has in the past 10 years offered valid intervention in the reproductive lives of hundreds of Nigerian.
Today, nearly a thousand babies have been born through the IVF intervention of this frontline fertility centre in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja. Challenges of infertility as we know have been a burden for many marriages in contemporary societies.
This is more so in Africa where the worth of a woman and indeed any marriage is dependent on the ability to bear children. This phenomenon has seen many marriages go through pains, leaving many more, especially the women in silent pains. The children celebration is a proof of Bridge Clinicâ€™s expertise in bringing succour to homes in the midst of the challenges posed by infertility.