By SOLA OGUNDIPE
ALTHOUGH Helen and Bernard tied the nuptial knot with fanfare and great expectations, they had to wait four years to be blessed with the fruit of the womb. Exactly 12 days ago, Helen, 31, was delivered of a set of quadruplets -three female and a male – courtesy of Assisted Reproductive Therapy, ART.
In a chat, the couple told Good Health Weekly how their long search for a child ended at the MART Medicare – Obstetric Unit of the Medical ART Centre, MART, in Lagos, where the babies were delivered.
Bernard, 40, recounted that the end of their parenthood woes began in August 2013 when he and his wife visited the Fertility Unit of the MART Group of Healthcare Services.
Diagnosis & treatment
“My wife was about 30 years of age at that time, and I was 39. We had been desperately looking for help to achieve pregnancy and successful childbirth after four years of marriage with no babies. After series of tests at the Centre, my wife was given a diagnosis for lack of ovulation and polycystic ovarian disorder, while I was diagnosed for male factor infertility.”
Bernard said he and his wife commenced series of treatments immediately to address their indicated fertility challenges. In October 2013, they were put through a two-level procedure called the fallopian tube sperm perfusion (artificial insemination). “It involves washing and processing of the sperm before injection into the fallopian tube. The initial perfusion was done by Dr. Chisara Okeke, and the second was done by Dr Jaiyeola Adeyemi – both IVF physicians at the Centre.”
Helen went home but returned to the Centre two weeks later and was confirmed positive by the Beta HCG (bHCG) pregnancy test. She said it was to her delight and amazement, two weeks after the perfusion, that result of the pregnancy test came out positive.
“It was the happiest moment of my life to discover I was pregnant. Five days later, the following week,a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Fertility/IVF Specialist, Dr. ‘Kemi Ailoje Ibru, performed series of ultrasound scans and found that there were four gestational sacs, meaning I was carrying four babies.”
Scans: Helen recalled that the doctor was doing the scans one at a time and each time an additional sac was found, it meant another baby. “It got to a stage, my husband and I requested that the scans should be discontinued just in case more babies were to be discovered. By the 10th week, I was transferred to to the MART Medicare for antenatal care.”
Speaking on the medical feat, the Group Medical Director/CEO, Medical ART Centre, Professor Oladapo Ashiru said the initial scan post positive test was done to determine the position of the implantation. “One week later another scan was done to confirm gestation, which showed twin gestation.
Quadruplets: The 7th week scan showed triplet gestation and by eight weeks, the quadruplet gestation was confirmed. “She was managed at MART Medical Art Center high risk/multiple pregnancy care unit, and was transferred to MART Medicare from the 10th week for continued routine monitoring”.
Ashiru, an experienced endocrinologist and joint pioneer of IVF in Nigeria and West Africa, explained that at the MART Medicare, Helen’s case was taken over by three consultant obstetrician/gynaecologists led by Dr. Lateef Akinola, Dr. Moses Olusanjo, and Dr. Seun Makewu. The trio carefully monitored her antenatal care till the 16th week when a cervical cerclage was inserted under spinal anestethestic to ensure that her cervix was intact.
Plan of delivery
“By the 20th week, the patient was brought in to admission at the maternity ward of MART Medicare so that she could rest and prevent early miscarriage. She was readmitted at 20 weeks for close monitoring and plan of delivery. At 33 weeks, she had elective Caesarean Section by a team of specialists led by Drs. Akinola and Olusanjo and a team which included two anesthetics, two obstetricians, four neonatologists and theatre nurses.
“The quadruplets were delivered in about three minutes beginning at 9am. First to come was a female, 1.35 kg followed by the boy, 1.25kg, then a female 1.2 kg and another female 0.90 kg, The anesthestic was spinal and so the mother was awake all through the procedure and she could hear her babies crying as the medical team kept her company throughout. All babies are alive and well and are currently placed in the neonatal unit with specialised, ventilators, respirators and individual incubators, light phototherapy sets and monitors.”
Ashiru, who was elated at the successful delivery of the babies, recalled they were not the first set of high order multiple pregnancies at the MART, as previous sets of quintuplets , quadruplets, triplets conceived from the clinic through IVF had been delivered in other hospitals in Nigeria, India, the UK and USA respectively.
“This is a great feat for us as we have achieved the one stop plan for our patients to be taken from infertility management to delivery in the same facility, reducing the stress on patient and medical tourism outside the country. MART is happy to collaborate and complement government effort in the reduction of Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in the country.”
No case of hospital infection
Ashiru attributted the overall success to the efficiecy of the theatre where no case of hospital or post-surgery infection has been recorded. He recalled that at inception of MART in September 2013, the vision was to set up a world class maternity centre where everything would be done at its best to ensure the safety of the mother and child with zero tolerance for mortality with state-of-the-art services, so people would not have to travel abroad to deliver their babies.
“For us and to me, I regard this as a feat for this private Centre. To deliver a 0.9 kg baby successfully and ensure it survives is a significant achievement. This has been made possible because of the dedication of the staff and fact that all the equipment needed are available.