*You must not go under the knife in treating fibroids, he tells women

By Joseph Erunke

A human fertility expert, Dr Abayomi Ajayi has said Nigerians abroad facing fertility problems were returning to the country to undergo In Vitro Fertilizer, IVF procedures.

This came as he advised women diagnosed with fibroids not to panic over surgeries, saying there were many ways of treating the disease rather than going under the knife. He particularly admonished them to consider undertaking noninvasive method of treating fibroids.

He spoke in Abuja, at an event with the theme: “Modern Techniques for Managing Uterine Fibroids and Adenomyosis, organised by the Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetrics of Nigeria, SOGON, in collaboration with Nordica Fertility Centre, Abuja, and Association of Nigerian Private Medical Practitioners, ANPMP.

Dr Ajayi, who is the Managing Director of Nordica Fertility Centre, a foremost fertility treatment centre in Abuja, however, blamed insecurity for the inability of foreign nationals to embrace Nigeria for the fertility treatment.

He said Nigerians living abroad were embracing IVF in the country because of the centre’s technology and engagement in the best standard of IVF.

“What we have tried to do, year in and year out is to make sure that we meet up to international standards. That is what we set up to do from the get-go, to make sure that Nigerians here in Nigeria, can have the same treatment and that is why we try to move abreast with technology.

” That we are here in Nigeria does not mean we are sub-humans. Europeans don’t have two heads. We also try to give Nigerians what they will get if they go to Paris or London and that has been our goal all along. So Year in and year out, that is what we try to match ourselves with and I can say proudly that everybody is beginning to see that and that is why we are getting many more people coming in from abroad to come to Nigeria for IVF treatment.

“So, it’s common now for people in England, for people in the U.S to say look, if you want to do IVF, go to Nigeria.

“We get a lot of people from Australia, America, coming to Nigeria for IVF. Nigerians who live there, come home for IVF treatment,” he said.

On whether foreign nationals were also embracing his centre,Dr Ajayi said,”The only people who are confident in coming to Nigeria are Nigerians.”

“Even Ghanaians are afraid to come to Nigeria. I think we just have this larger-than-life cult image with the people that if you come to Nigeria, once you land in Lagos, you will disappear. Something like that but Nigerians are willing to come through.

“We are beginning to see a lot of Ghanaians come now especially with the fibroid treatment because it is not available in their own country.

” We are seeing people from Sierra Leone coming in. I think over time, because we use to be a health hub in West Africa and that is what we lost with our security situation. If our security situation improves, I am sure that we are going to have a lot more people wanting to come,” he said.

According to the Nigerian obstetrician and gynaecologist, “The problem is, the average Ghanaian is scared to come to Nigeria, unlike a Nigerian who is always willing to go to Accra.”

” They (Ghanaians) don’t want to come and that is affecting some of the things we should be offering them,” he lamented.

Asked to explain whether fibroid was a contributing factor to infertility in women, he said: “We cannot say when you have fibroid then you have infertility, but it is associated. “

“We don’t know why exactly but we are seeing also that a lot of people with fibroid have endometriosis. That might be one of the reasons why there is infertility but women who have the submucous fibroid where the fibroid is located, where the pregnancy should be, can be prone to infertility or miscarriages,” he said.

Speaking more on fibroid, Dr Ajayi advised carriers to embrace High-Intensity Focus Ultrasound, HIFU and not necessarily surgery.

He explained that HIFU ” is a non-invasive technology that converts ultrasound into heat energy.”

“It is like killing the fibroid without really touching it. We heat the cells to a particular temperature and it denatures, thereby killing the fibroid,” he further explained.

According to him, unlike surgery, fibroid treated through noninvasive method has led chances of growing back up to three times.

“The one you kill cannot grow but other ones can grow. The good thing about HIFU is that because you are not cutting, it can be repeated but I doubt if somebody will repeat three times unlike surgery because sometimes, one of the problems with surgery is that it is not fibroid they are dealing with. They are dealing with endometriosis,” he stressed.

” I have a word for the women, the first thing is that fibroid is not a death sentence, fibroid does not mean you need surgery because I have seen many women who will come back from maybe a medical centre and start weeping, saying ‘doctor said I have fibroid and I will need surgery.

” It is not true. It is not every fibroid that needs to be treated to start with, it is not every fibroid that you want to treat that you need to operate on. So there are many options now available for women to choose from.

” If I were a woman and I have fibroid, I would do HIFU or something noninvasive. I would probably prefer it than going under the knife,” he said.

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