The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, has appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to support governments to achieve cheaper cost of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) popularly known as (IVF).
LASUTH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Adewale Oke, made the appeal at the celebration of 74 live births in the hospital’s Institution of Fertility Medicine (IFM).
The event which held on Wednesday in Lagos was organised by LASUTH in collaboration with the Bridge Clinic, Lagos – a fertility clinic.
Oke was represented by Dr Ayoade Adedokun, LASUTH’s Director of Clinical Services and Training.
74 babies have been delivered at the hospital’s IFM since its inception in 2011 in partnership with the Bridge Clinic.
Oke said: “We have been told what future lies ahead of the partnership, which is to bring down the cost further.
“With the help of government and well-meaning Nigerians, we can achieve this; that is, getting the drugs at a highly subsidised rate that will bring down the cost of treatment.’’
According to the hospital’s Chairman of IFM Board, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, the cost of one ART cycle is from N400,000 to N500,000.
Fabamwo said that there was the need to train more fertility experts in the hospital.
He said that only two persons had been trained as consultants on fertility matters in the hospital.
He, however, noted that some resident doctors in the hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department had undertaken routine trainings at the IFM.
“For now, only two consultants will carry on with the service in the institution,” he said.
The chairman said that the hospital was aiming at being independent in the treatment of fertility issues.
Fabamwo said, “We are only waiting for the completion of the Ayinke House, which will be the new building for the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department before we start to operate on our own.’’
The guest speaker, a Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr Tawakalita Otun, urged men and women suffering infertility to seek appropriate assistance to get the required services.
Otun said that religious beliefs hindered some women from seeking appropriate treatment for infertility.
“The issue of religion is a huge challenge; when women and men are infertile, they believe it is a supernatural problem, but science has gone beyond that myth.
“It is better to be investigated and the cause of the problem identified and treated.
“Not all women will have babies through Invitro Fertility Treatment (IVF); there is also room for adoption.
“There are other ways of conceiving and having children,” she said.
Otun said that about 50 per cent of those who visited the hospital’s gynaecology clinics presented cases of infertility.
According to her, the country still records a high rate of infertility.
“The reason is that there are a lot of practices among the population that can affect fertility potential vis-a-vis the level of promiscuity within the environment.
“Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) can be a reason.
“For the female, the cause is mostly tubal factor, which is due to infection from STDs; also, men have problems with sperm counts due to infections,” she said.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, the Bridge Clinic, Dr Jide Ojo, said that IVF awareness was low in the country.
Ojo said: “There are a lot of people who are dying in silence; they feel stigmatised and do not know where to seek help.
“There is the need for more awareness so that a lot of people will know where to go to access these services.
“There are now hope and potential solutions for a lot of couples who may be giving up hope of becoming parents.
“They need to know where to go, who to talk to, and how to access these services and make their dreams come true.”
NAN reports that the first live birth through LASUTH’s IFM was a set of twins delivered on Dec. 26, 2011.
The IFM came into being in August 2011 following a memorandum of understanding between LASUTH and Bridge Clinic. (NAN)