* IVF not as costly as people think – expert
By Lekan Bilesanmi
ITÂ was a bundle of joy which she would not mind to get even though it is labourious and tedious to have. She was indeed happy, happy that before losing hope, she not only had a child of her own but two lovely babies. Her joy is understandable if we put it in context.
Oluwaseun Adejuwon was already above 30 before she tied the knot. She refused to give her actual age. She is being typically woman. She wanted three babies. The implication of her wish is that she would have to have three children before she got to menopause stage at 40, and above. She was three years old in the marriage, and no sign of pregnancy.
Yinka, the husband, is a chartered accountant while Seun is a civil servant, both residing in Abuja, the Federal Capital. Seun, as expected, was getting impatient. Some of her friends suggested adoption, but adoption, according her, was for people who are medically certified barren which she is not.
The other alternative outside adoption was to go for invitro fertilization, IVF. She was to have the IVF in Abuja but because of the cost and frequency of success of the technology, she decided to come down to Lagos. In Lagos, she came in contact with Tunde Okewale, a gynaecologist and invitro fertilization, IVF, specialist.
â€œI had always told my friends in school then that making babies for me would not be a problem once I get married. In fact, I used to jokingly say that even if I step on sperm I would get pregnant. That was how much confidence I had in myself in getting pregnantâ€, she recalled as she narrated the genesis of her problem and breakthrough. I got married late.
“I was already past 30 before I got married. But three years after the wedding, I didnâ€™t conceive and there was equally no signs of me conceiving. I and my husband planned to have three children. If I must have the children, then, I ought to start having them now before one gets to menopause. We have both gone for series of tests where we were both confirmed to be medically sound. So, medically, we could make babies but the babies just refused to come.
In fairness to my husband, he was not bothered. His belief was that at the right and appointed time of God, the babies would come. I believed that too but at the same time, I was not deluded by the fact that I was not getting younger. Some of my friends mooted the idea of going for adoption.
Adoption, on a second thought, should be for those who may have been medicallyÂ certified barren or those in their old age. I didnâ€™t fall into any of those categories. So, I told them that I was not interested.
“You know when you are in such situation, a lot of suggestions and advice come to play. It was another friend in the office that told me of the IVF. I had heard of it before but the reality of the technology didnâ€™t dawn on me until I was faced with the problem. We went round Abuja and we could find just about three IVF based hospitals. And even at that, compared to those in Lagos here, the success rate was very low. So, I called my mother, she is in Lagos here. I told her to help find any good IVF based hospital.
Few days later, she got back to say that she had found one. I then told my husband who was surprised that I had gone that far. She asked me if I truly wanted to have the babies through IVF and if it was what I wanted, I should go ahead.
He brought me to Lagos and to the St Ives Hospital where another round of tests were carried out on both of us. That was the beginning of our road to having these babiesâ€, she said.
For a woman to conceive, five things must be present, says Tunde, the medical director of St Ives – Good sperm, the womanâ€™s fertile period, the womb of the woman that needs to accept and keep the pregnancy, the tubes that connect the ovary and the womb that must be opened, and the woman who must be producing quality eggs every month.
“The essence of investigation is to check these five steps to be sure all are intact. In majority of people who are infertile, you will find one or more of these steps. But in about 10 per cent of these women, you discover there is nothing wrong, only that they need to be re-assured and maybe little psychology as to when and when not to meet. That is what we call unexplained infertilityâ€, he explained.
Notion of cost
St Ives has recorded about 200 babies in the last two and half years it started the IVF unit. Tunde says IVF is not as tedious as people are painting it, pointing out that it is the simplest way of conceiving. He noted that most couples run away from IVF because of the notion of its cost. â€œIt is not as expensive as most people think, at least from St Ives here.
And that is why it appears we are the only one here in Lagos. No, it is just that we also feel the pains of these couples, coupled with the fact that the economic power of most couples is low. There is the joy and satisfaction that one gets when these babies come to life.
Beyond the token being paid, there is nothing as good as seeing these people come up and the kind of encomiums they shower on you. In fact, some of the couples even give you monetary gift after delivery. That, on its own, is enough.â€
Seun, even though she is a junior staff, says she is ready as soon as her husband is ready for another one, to come over for another IVF because, according to her, the cost is small compared to what you have in Abuja and more importantly what you will get at the end of the day.
â€œI am just extremely happy that I now have children of my own, my blood. I think this is, perhaps, the best way of conceiving. I was sceptical initially because there were just few people that I had seen come out successful. I have heard several people complain that it hardly works and that it is strictly meant for the rich. But I thank God that I did it for the first time and it was successful and not even as expensive as it was projectedâ€, she said.