Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Don’t delay, explore IVF, fertility specialists tell couples

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Angela Onwuzoo 

Fertility specialists have said some couples struggling with infertility will certainly need assisted reproductive technology such as In-Vitro Fertilisation to have children.

The experts advise that couples should be aware of when IVF becomes a viable alternative for treating infertility, to avoid waiting too long.

Infertility, they explained, is a disease of the male or female reproductive system, defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

According to them, infertility is a global health issue affecting millions of people of reproductive age worldwide.

The World Health Organisation in a new report said large numbers of people are affected by infertility in their lifetime.

The report said that around 17.5 per cent of the adult population, roughly one in six worldwide, experience infertility, showing the urgent need to increase access to affordable, high-quality fertility care for those in need.

The fertility specialists, who spoke at the maiden edition of the Fertility Awareness  Programme and Free IVF treatment, organised by a non-governmental organisation in Lagos, Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency, identified lack of funds as a barrier to accessing treatment by fertility-challenged couples in Nigeria.

15 women challenged by infertility emerged as winners of the free IVF treatment cycles being offered by the NGO and were presented with certificates.

Speaking on the topic, “Exploring alternative options to infertility”, an IVF specialist, Dr. Ugwueke Thaddeus, listed the category of fertility-challenged couples that require IVF treatment to defeat infertility.

Thaddeus, who is the Medical Director, Emobile Specialist Hospital, Lagos, said “Couples with male partners who have poor sperm quality and azoospermia need IVF, and couples with long duration of infertility.

“Also, female partners with uterine abnormalities and absence of uterus as well as female partners with ovarian abnormality and endometriosis.”

Others include couples with permanent contraception such as vasectomy and tubal ligation and also women of advanced age.

Thaddeus also noted that women with tubal abnormality will not be able to get pregnant naturally and would therefore require IVF treatment to get pregnant.

He advised couples struggling with infertility to ignore the stigma and seek help from fertility specialists for proper medical evaluation to ascertain the cause.

According to the WHO, in the male reproductive system, infertility is most commonly caused by problems in the ejection of semen, absence or low levels of sperm, or abnormal shape (morphology) and movement (motility) of the sperm.

In the female reproductive system, the global health body says infertility may be caused by a range of abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and the endocrine system, among others.

In her remarks, the founder of Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency, Olaronke Thaddeus, said the organisation was established to bring joy to couples struggling with infertility.

The fertility counsellor said, “Meet Surrogate Mothers Agency was given birth in May 2014, an idea I conceived in my sitting room because I wanted to make a difference in womanhood.

“Our early patients were also attended to in my sitting room. However, the vision and the passion have always been to wipe away the tears of fellow women and so far we have recorded huge success over the years.

“Meet surrogate mothers has always been a mother in all ramifications. We are starting a new chapter today with yearly free IVF through Olaronke Thaddeus Foundation and with the hope that every year, more women who desire to have their babies through IVF but cannot afford it can be hopeful.”

Thaddeus said the organisation was expanding its yearly free IVF treatment to enable more women having financial challenges to access treatment.

“As we desire to expand our charity arm and stretch it far and beyond, we have to establish our foundation so we can beckon all and sundry to give financially to make these dreams a reality.

“Although our charity arms have always been silent over the years, for instance, we give few free IVF to a few women on our page yearly.

“We also pay school fees for various school students and put widows on our payroll.  All these have been sponsored from the purse of meets surrogate mothers over the years”, she said.

The 15 fertility-challenged women who emerged winners of this year’s free IVF treatment cycles commented to the founder of the organisation for her kind gestures.




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