Says infertility is a pandemic in Nigeria, but IVF can help prevent transfer of genetic abnormalities
By Sola Ogundipe
A fertility specialist and gynecologist, Dr Kunle Ajayi, has admonished Nigerian couples that are challenged by infertility to desist from patronising baby factories and other illegal institutions in their own interest.
Ajayi, who is the Medical Director of Clearview Hospital, Lagos, said that although infertility has become a pandemic in the world, there are now a number of well-established fertility clinics and specialists in Nigeria, that are assisting infertile couples to become parents of their own biological children.
Giving the caution during a chat with Good Health Weekly, Ajayi warned that couples that patronise baby factories would be disappointed in the long run.
“Do not go to baby factories, you do not need to,” he remarked. “If you go and afterward you need to do a DNA test, you will get to know that the baby that you have been given is not your own. That will certainly open a can of worms. So seek the right help from the right place and the right persons.”
Ajayi explained that Assisted Reproductive Technology, ART, medical advancements such as Invitro Fertilisation, IVF, are widely available in Nigeria and couples do not need to travel abroad. In his own view, IVF is not as elitist as perceived.
“A child is priceless, and infertility treatment is now relatively affordable. Treatment through IVF is no longer elitist because infertile couples are not being charged as exorbitantly as before. Previously, a lot of centres used to bill patients so much, but it is no longer like that because there is healthy competition. Many professionals who are into infertility treatment are doing the right thing.
While admitting that IVF does not give a 100 percent guarantee, Ajayi argued that fertility specialists can, however, gain the patient’s confidence as long as they have ensured that the right thing is done.
“IVF is word of mouth, as long as you offer the patient the best service and they get the right treatment. When we as fertility treatment practitioners are clear from the beginning about what we are doing, we will gain the trust of our clients. Practitioners should make the process a little bit more transparent, we should also let the general public know that having an IVF baby should not be a source of stigma.
“Our culture is such that once you require assistance to do anything, even if it is just to do Cesarean Section, CS, people would look down on you and say you are not a real woman, So until we let go of such things, we might continue to have such perceptions.
Debunking claims that IVF babies are abnormal, he said they reach full potential.
“We use IVF to prevent genetic abnormalities. If there are chromosomal deformities in a family, we can actually use IVF as a means of preventing those abnormalities from being transferred to the offspring.
“Older women can use IVF to have their babies. but being older puts you more at risk of having abnormal babies, so you can actually choose which embryos are good to transfer, so there is a lot of work to do to sensitise the public.
Noting that infertility is like a pandemic in Nigeria, he said if a woman is trying to get pregnant and it is not happening, it creates a lot of division, violence, and ostracisation.
“Not every couple will require IVF. There are easier means of achieving pregnancy which many couples probably do not know about and until they see a specialist, it might be difficult to know that.
“So infertile couples need to go to the fertility clinics and see the specialists who can assist them. You need to seek help in the right places in order to get the right results,” he noted.