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Govt urged to regulate fertility clinics

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By Esther Onyegbula

A fertility expert, Dr. Richardson Ajayi, has called on relevant authorities to enact laws to will protect unsuspecting childless couples from exploitation and harm by unqualified fertility clinics.

Dr. Ajayi, who is the Medical Director of Bridge Clinic, lamented the risks posed by the upsurge in poor quality Invitro Fertilisation, IVF, clinics across the country and stressed the need for government to institute a regulatory body to oversee the activities of IVF practitioners as well as set operational standards for the practice.

Speaking during the launch of the Bridge Clinic ultra-modern IVF facility in Ikeja,  Lagos, Ajayi said: “We believe that Nigeria needs many IVF clinics but these clinics need to meet the required standards to work in this very sensitive field of science, religion and morality. Francophone West Africa has already implemented the giraffe system of regulation, zoning and licensing, that is absolutely necessary to protect this very sensitive area of medicine.

“An IVF facility of this standard is mandatory in developed countries and it goes beyond gynaecologists that want to perform IVF to build laboratories of this level. Interestingly, Paris has only two IVF clinics licensed to practice IVF but over 100 gynaecologists practicing IVF, as they all collaborate with one of the IVF clinics. It is therefore our intention to set up similar collaborative systems so that as many gynaecologists that are interested and meet the quality requirements will be invited to use these clinics for the management of their patients.”

Also speaking, another IVF expert, Professor Zech, noted that research had shown that the sperm quality of Nigerian men was low when compared to their European counterparts.

He said though experts were still trying to find out the cause of the low quality, which could be as a result of the toxic environment and unhealthy lifestyles.

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