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Information Asymmetry in Fertility Treatments

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Not every woman was born with the dream of one day holding her own kind in her arms in the form of a baby, but surely, that instinct catches up with nearly every woman at one point or the other. Beyond the biological, there is the social expectation that every female, whether or not she is married, should give birth to a child.

Life, for the woman without a child, is less than ordinarily difficult in our part of the world and when she has support from her spouse and other friends and family members, she would count herself to be very lucky indeed. There is the likelihood for society to blame her for the lack of fruit of the womb and her state is more likely to be blamed by her so called rough life in the past.
Nowadays, with advancements in DNA and other medical technologies, more and more woman the world over are able to have their own babies where they might otherwise not have been able to and with the reduction in the desire to have children in advanced countries, practitioners are moving to countries such as ours where the economies are actually still growing and the culture of having children is prevalent.

Fertility treatment

The influx of fertility treatment facilities in the past decade or so have therefore been unprecedented as are the amounts people have been known to fork out for treatments. Yet, not enough information is being put out about fertility treatments, leaving more room than necessary for people to be ripped off both financially and emotionally, and for likely beneficiaries to be left uninformed about the options available to them.

One of the most common and most successful ‘treatments’ for infertility is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) methods, whereby a male patient whose male gametes have slow mobility or a female patient with trapped female gametes are asked to release these gametes.

They are then brought together under clinical conditions where fertilization will take place and the ensuing embryo is nurtured until it is stable enough to be returned into the woman’s womb at some point.

Yet, it is with this particular method that there is the most information asymmetry as well as unethical practices. There have been cases of doctors who, being unsuccessful at the option, have been reported to substitute their male gametes with those of the male patient in order to justify the huge fees.

It is a common practice to fertilize more than one egg to make room for failures in the process. When there is no failure, extra embryos are disposed, supposedly, in ways that are not first discussed with patients. When they are, it is after the process often and patients are left forever feeling guilty.

With other methods such as those involving chemotherapy and other medical therapies, patients are often told stress, their state of mind and their diets can improve the tendency to conceive, particularly in cases where causes of infertility are not so obvious. There is little to substantiate such claims, and these claims are often shady.

Other methods such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy and other forms of alternative medicine claim to treat infertility effectively, studies supporting this claim is fragmented at best, and loose in most cases.

While there is often a good dose of counseling, practitioners often fail to touch on the touchier issues, sometimes out of the fear that the patient might not understand the medical jargons, or they might be afraid. Counselling often does not involve key family members and friends who provide physical and emotional support for the patients.

For parents to be who are overwhelmed with the motherly/fatherly instinct, it is totally unnecessary for the bundle of joy to be biological. At the end of the day, the adoption option still appears a very attractive one.

Xpressions:
Wikileaks is exposing people, so why are heads not rolling?
Even before Wikileaks, the Halliburton scandal had blown open the lid on the can of worms that is the Nigerian government. Nothing happened, though important members of the government of the day as well as past governments were clearly signaled. Some of them went back to government- by the ballot, to boot!

Now, people are denying their involvement in the newly uncovered cans courtesy Wikileaks. So far, it is a fine waste of time.
The ongoing Wikileaks saga and our part in it teaches us the same old lesson: It’s the technology, stupid.

TENANCY LAW:  Fashola has done his part
A lot of criticism has trailed the relatively newly enacted law from the Lagos State government, which prohibits the demand and collection of more rents than 6months from a prospective tenant.

It is a wonder that this is so. Doubting Thomases wonder how the law will be enforced, given tough living conditions in the city. If people don’t use the law, it will not be used.

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