Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Umuoba, Amakohia-Uratta in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State is one of suburbs surrounding the capital city of Owerri that urbanization is catching up with.
Like emerging new urban centres, social amenities are beginning to spring up in the enclave.
One of them is the “Dorcas Maternity Home”, believed to be a baby-making centre. The home, which is located on a discreet part of the community has mainly women in their 40s and 60s as clients.
Some patients of the maternity home claimed that real delivery actually take place there, in spite of reaching the age of menopause.
One of the patients, Mrs Chinyere whose is 45 years old, told our correspondent that a lot of women who have attained the age of menopause had given birth to healthy babies there.
She disclosed that although body system of the women matters, there are some patients whom the process failed to work on because of their body system and age.
Her husband, who corroborated her explanations, said that women who are three years gone in their menopause do not have the chances of conceiving at Dorcas Maternity.
“You see this thing works, I have confirmed it because my wife is pregnant now, initially I objected to it when my wife told me about the Dorcas home, I have a son of about 15 years old, I told my wife that there is no need for such, but she insisted.
“She said there is need for us to have a second issue, so, I gave my consent and she went there to register and now I know she is pregnant although she has been carrying it since 2017”, Chinyere’s husband said.
Chinyere explained that the process of conception is not different from that of a normal pregnancy. She said something would be inserted in the woman that will induce her hormonal system and after sexual intercourse with the husband; she would conceive.
Normal symptoms of pregnancy are observed, she said, but the difference is that the stomach will not be easily noticeable even after nine months.
She explained why she has been carrying her own pregnancy for two and a half years. “I have been injected and drugs administered, but I am the one delaying my own pregnancy after two and a half years.
“When I was introduced to the home, I was not told that it was expensive, I thought it would be affordable not until when I was told that to have safe delivery, I must pay the sum of N1.5million, excluding N5,000 to be paid at every antennal at the home.
“Each time you go there, it does not matter how many times, you are expected to pay same amount even at any emergency to see the matron of the home.
“As you can see, I run a local restaurant, how much do I make to go for my antenatal let alone completing the N1.5 million for my delivery. That’s why I have been carrying this pregnancy since 2017.
“Each time you show up at the maternity home, you pay N5,000. I have not even attended for the past two month”.
When she was asked about how she was fairing not going for antenatal and still carrying her baby for that couple of years; she said: “I used to feel pains around my waist and shoulders and I was told that those signs mean that the baby is still kicking, they said the time does not matter, once you complete your money, they would give you a date for delivery”.
Another patient, Mrs Uchechi who has no child, but now pregnant courtesy of the Dorcas miracle said: “My own is just 11months old. I hope to go back there for delivery when I pay my balance; the pain of carrying this pregnancy is much”.
Sunday Sun was led into the problems associated with carrying the ‘pregnancy’. Most women who carry the pregnancy, especially those who spend longer time often have problems with their husband.
According to Chinyere, their husbands sometimes lose patience and become doubtful of their pregnancy.
This, she said, had made many of the women rent temporary apartments near the centre so that they could stay and deliver and go back to their families without raising an eyebrow.
Of course, Chinyere described it as an expensive venture because only wealthy people could afford paying Dorcas and also rent apartments outside their homes for at least a year, to carry pregnancy and deliver.
So many homes, she added, have broken because of the high cost of pregnancy and delivery.
She confessed that her husband was planning to sell the only land he has to offset the N1.5million required by the maternity home for them to have a baby.
Chinyere said: “My husband and his people are presently in great dispute because of his plan to sell his land to pay for the amount demanded by the home”.
Patients of the miracle baby making home also told our correspondent that the police had severally swooped on the place and arrested the matron, but that she ended up coming out without blemish after allegedly discovering that the home was not violating any child trafficking law.
As a matter of fact, the frequent arrests, Sunday Sun gathered, seemed to have solidified the relationship between the police and the home to warrant some police officers to now also allegedly patronise it.
Matron of the home, Dorcas, swore that they were not involved in child trafficking or sale of babies at the centre, saying that everything works with faith and endurance.
Dorcas who claimed that she just delivered four women of their babies on January 22, when our correspondent visited the place again, also confirmed the high cost of having babies in the centre.
Speaking through her deputy simply called Lolo, she explained that the prohibitive cost was purely because of the high cost of the drugs.
Our correspondent had pretended to have been married for 15 years without a child and was in search of solution, stressing that he was prepared to pay any amount.
But he was told that he could only meet with the matron if he came with his wife, but he pleaded that such rule be waived for him since he was not told the conditions the first time he came because the matron was not around.
At this point, with some arrangement, Lolo offered to attend to him.
According to the home, for a start, the husband would have to submit his spermatogenesis count test to ascertain that he is potent while his wife is also thoroughly checked if her foetus can still conceive.
Then the sum of N300,000 would be deposited for the insertion and the drugs, including antenatal.
Cost of delivery according to them, varies from how many babies the parents desired, in case of a twin, she said it costs N3 million, excluding the N300,000 deposit; while it is N1.5 million for a baby, no matter the sex.