BY ESTHER ONYEGBULA
Research has shown that one in four Nigerian couples suffer infertility. Unfortunately, due to the importance attached to having a child in Nigeria and Africa at large, most couples who are unable to achieve pregnancy over a period of time are left with no other choice than to explore other options, irrespective of their consequences.
Factors responsible for infertility
Apart from a woman having blocked or damaged fallopian tubes or any other problem, according to Professor Herbert Zech of the IVF Clinics, the low quality of the sperm of most Nigerian men, when compared to their European counterparts, is one common factor responsible for infertility in marriage. This poor sperm quality is attributed to toxins from the environment and unhealthy lifestyles. Unfortunately, in a quest to seek for solutions, some couples resort to the use of traditional herbs, others employ the use of modern medicine while the elites go for the In Vitro Fertilisation, IVF, option.
From records, IVF seems to be the most preferred option for those who have the means, in spite of the cost. Unlike most mothers who are ashamed of telling their IVF experience, Mrs Ifeoma is proud to be a mother, courtesy the IVF option. Ifeoma shared her IVF experience which started 14 years ago with Feminista.
Ifeoma’s IVF experience
“Six years after I got married,I was finding it difficult to conceive and was therefore going from one hospital and prayer house to another without result. Already, I had being diagnosed with blocked tubes and had been told I could not conceiving naturally. I decided to seek alternatives. It was at that time that a friend introduced me to Bridge Clinic and I went to see Dr. Ajayi.
Light at the end of the tunnel
In 1999, my husband and I began the IVF procedure and I got pregnant and then delivered a set of twin in January 2000- Ogechukwu and Kosisochukwu Emekwue. These are the first ever set of twins from the IVF carried out by the Bridge Clinic.
Shattering the culture of silence
People who go through IVF to achieve pregnancy don’t talk about it because of our cultural beliefs. They are afraid of being stigmatized but the truth of the matter is that I feel that if I am childless, that is when I will be stigmatised. From the time I got pregnant and had my babies and till date, I have been granting interviews and sharing my experience. I’m shattering the silence so that other women who are in similar situation can take informed decision.
Why other available options should be considered
Through IVF, a lot of couples in Nigeria have not only been able to achieve pregnancy but have become proud parents, courtesy the wonders of modern science.
According to fertility expert, Dr. Richardson Ajayi, “despite the fact that it is the desire of every couple to achieve pregnancy within the comfort of their bedrooms, when doing this becomes impossibility, other available options like IVF should be considered”.