By Lexi Elo
In recent times, infertility has become a common challenge in many homes in Nigeria today. This problem has led to many families and couples having sleepless nights and possible separation for families yet to come to terms due to their inability to have a child within a period of years.
Recent statistics show that in sub-Saharan Africa, infertility affect 1 in 4 to 9 couples. Due to the high premium placed on child bearing, infertility is a major social and emotional problem, causing marital disharmony, divorce and domestic violence against women.
Besides been a major problem of stigmatization, getting the required assistance and treatment for infertility is not any easier as couple fall into the hands of people who end-up prolonging the respite and possibly compound the problem. Little wonder experts say that seeking medical intervention through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a panacea towards resolving this impasse.
Esther Abiara, consultant gynecologist and fertility specialist at the Bridge Clinic, Victoria Island, Lagos, explained that every month when a woman releases an egg which is then transported to the uterus via the Fallopian tubes, certain things could disrupt the process, thereby delaying fertility and successful conception.
Abiara, who made this known at a Children’s Party to mark the hospital’s 16th year Anniversary, noted that the common causes are fallopian tube damage, ovarian problems, uterine anomalies and more commonly sperm problems.
According to Abiara “A couple are said to be infertile when there is difficulty with conception despite regular unprotected sexual intercourse of at least 12 months duration. The Bridge Clinic has placed itself to solve this problem and has been doing so over the last 16 years by providing professional treatment and management of all causes of infertility with international standards and state of the art equipment.
“In 2014, 47% of our clients’ ages less than 35 years got pregnant at their first attempt. This is borne out of our consistent and verifiable results. We have over 1860 live births to show for this and our pregnancy rates are consistently above average. IVF is a medical procedure and all medical procedures have their risks. The quality management system assures that the risks are well managed so that you can have your treatment in the safest environment and in the safest hands. There are systems in place to ensure monitoring of blastocyst formation rate, immature rates and best pregnancy rates.’
Hameedat Shittu, business development manager, Bridge Clinic explained that capacity building among staff is premium hence, the reason why the hospital has excelled in handling infertility issues.
According to Shittu “The experience of our team is very important for safe and successful fertility treatment and patient management. We are dedicated to recruiting only the best personnel, and committed to developing both our staff and facilities through on-going training and investment in equipment. Our team is made up of qualified, experienced doctors, fertility specialists, fertility nurses and care partners. Annually, our team trains in Europe/our international partner fertility specialists come to Nigeria and provide training on the latest fertility techniques.
“In 2004, the Bridge Clinic introduced a quality management system (QMS) to ensure the safety of all our patients. Today, we are still the only clinic in Nigeria to have this system in place. Fertility clinics and treatment is not regulated in Nigeria and this leaves patients open to risk and poor results. Because there is no regulation, many clinics take advantage of the fact that many couples will require more than one treatment cycle before they conceive.”
Shittu continued: “While it is simply not possible to provide fertility treatment abroad without a special licence confirming that your clinic is able to provide the right level of service of which inspections are done annually, in Nigeria, anyone with the right equipment can say they provide fertility services.
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