Many homes are going through the agony of childlessness with the problem of infertility fast becoming a plague in the country. In Nigeria today and the world at large, the desire of every couple is to become parents within the first or second year of married life. While many couples have this dream fulfilled, there are quite a number of others who do not; no matter how hard they try.
The prevalence of infertility in Nigeria is put at between 20 and 25 percent among married couples, according to experts. However, 40 to 45 percent of all consultations in gynaecological clinics are infertility-related.
As growing incidence of infertility in the country continue to stare victims of these plague in the face, Nigerians have been advised that seeking early intervention and counselling would help tackle the problem.
Speaking to BusinessDay during Nordica Fertility Centre 10th Year Anniversary in Lagos, Abayomi Ajayi, managing director, Nordica Fertility Centre, said that medical research have shown that exposure to pollutants in the environment, lifestyle problems such as excessive alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and drugs could affect a man’s fertility.
Ajayi, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, explained that couples with the problem and desiring to have children can seek alternative reproductive techniques to achieve their dreams. With advancement in medicine, Ajayi said that it was possible for couples with fertility problems to have their own children through various assisted reproductive techniques such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).
While Fertility Treatment Support Foundation (FTSF) in partnership with Nordica Fertility centre has over the years provided free fertility treatment for 25 couples with diverse fertility challenges, it has plans to pay for free treatment of three fertility-challenged couples to be undertaken in each of the Nordica fertility clinics across the country.
According to Ajayi, “The 2013 edition of FSTF campaign is open to all indigent infertility Nigerian couples from all regions of the country; entries are to be produced by the couples themselves. Sending in entries does not mean they have automatically won because there would be a draw which will produce three winners. Only an entry can be submitted by any entrant/couple. English and ‘Pidgin’ are the only two languages allowed. Where a native language is used, it must be interpreted in English and must not be more than three minutes.
“FTSF assumes all entries are original and must be available on the internet from Friday 22 February 2013 to March 21 2013. Entries must be sent online to www.ftsfnigeria.org or submitted in CD format to any Nordica fertility clinic. Entrants will receive an acknowledgement when the entry has been received.”
As couples lament over the cost of IVF which observers say is beyond the reach of many infertile couples in the country, BusinessDay investigations reveal that the cheapest IVF treatment across the globe costs between N800,000 and N1million (£3,000 to £4,000).
“It is difficult to put a price on it because it depends on what the problem is with the couple. Two friends may come and they might have different bills because it depends on what the problems are. Across the globe, IVF treatment is not cheap but people suffering from the health challenge coming together to have a common front, the payment for the treatment may go for less,” Ajayi explained.