February 27, 2021

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HEALTH TALK WITH DOCTOR OLUWADARE ADEPETU: Why Couples Should Take Advantage Of IVF To Have Babies  

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IVF is like the new trend.  Some people say I am not going to have IVF because I don’t want to have test tube babies, others say it’s a medical miracle, what do you say about IVF?

Well, IVF is one of the medical knowledge that has been revealed to men to solve problems of couples battling with infertility, to bring happiness into homes. It’s a little knowledge that has been revealed to men and it’s a new field of science and it’s still evolving.

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So, is that like creating babies?

Well, I don’t want to use the word creating babies. Each time this question comes up, it sounds as if we are playing God. The reason why we do this is what should be examined: are we doing this for pride or we are doing it to bring happiness to people? If it is for pride, then you can say okay we are trying to play God. When it comes to IVF, God still reigns supreme. God still decides whether the IVF will be successful or not. So IVF still falls within the practice of medicine and the global slogan of medicine is we cure, God heals. So IVF we try our best, God gives children.

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So, how exactly does IVF work?

Well, if I’m going to answer that question on the surface just like you asked, IVF is simply to stimulate the woman to produce eggs, collect the husband’s sperm, take the two to the lab, fertilize the egg in the lab, form a baby, then bring the baby out, put in the woman’s womb to grow.

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 It’s often said that the first time you attempt an IVF it fails, is that true?

That’s not true. You see when it comes to IVF whether or not it is going to be successful; it depends on so many factors. IVF generally or broadly is in three stages. The first stage is making the woman to produce eggs. To a reasonable extent, we have control over that. We can guarantee you there will be eggs, and the second stage is collecting the eggs from the woman, collecting the sperm from the man and fertilizing the eggs in our laboratory. Science has gone beyond that. To a reasonable extent, we can guarantee you there will be embryo. Embryos are microscopic babies. The third stage is taking this microscopic babies and putting them in the womb. Once you do that, once we put it in the womb that’s the end of science for now. So God decides whether there will be babies or not. So the first could be successful and the third attempt may not be successful, it depends on a number of factors. These factors will include the quality of the embryo transferred; the quality of the embryo transferred is a factor of the quality of the egg used and the sperm used to form the embryo. Another factor that determines this is the quality of the lining of the womb, that’s the internal layer of the womb where the baby is going to grow, the quality of that one too is an issue. The expertise of the person carrying it out also comes into play and some other factors.

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So, at the point of insertion when it’s in a woman’s womb, you are saying that medical science comes to an end and we just have to depend on nature to make it work?

As a matter of fact, my practice is, once I finish the transfer, I tell the woman this is the end of science, we wish you well.

Can you determine the gender of the baby that’s raised through IVF?

Yes, the determination of the gender of the baby is through a procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. It’s available in Nigeria, so it’s not something that is far from us.

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We’ve observed overtime that you have multiple births in many cases of IVF. What’s responsible for that?

Yes, the case of that was the question you asked earlier about the success rate. People will want to achieve success, they want to maximize the chances of success. So some people will transfer as many as they wish. What we are striving towards, or if you go to developed world, there is regulation, there is legislation. In Nigeria, we are yet to get to that level but in Lagos State, there is legislation in Lagos now, yet to be applied to other parts of the country. In developed worlds, you cannot, there are rules, strict rules guiding the number of embryos you transfer. So you cannot transfer more than one because they don’t want multiple births but here, they will see places where people do two, three, some even do four.

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How could anyone want to stop a woman who has not had babies from having so many children?

When you look at multiple births, the highest rate of twins is actually here in Nigeria. In the south west, that’s where we have the highest rate of twins all over the world. So what is normal to us in the other part of the world is abnormal. But twin pregnancy is actually an abnormal birth because the womb of a woman is designed for one baby at a time, so that’s what we don’t want. We don’t want to be creating artificial twins so if we can get to the level where we transfer one and we can guarantee the level of success which we get with multiple embryo transfer, it’s better for us.

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Who needs an IVF, is it okay for just anybody, any woman, just any couple to say okay, we just want to do the IVF, who really needs it?

IVF is one of the fertility treatments for infertile couples, It’s one, IVF is not the whole treatment, it’s just one of the various forms of fertility treatments that is available for a woman. When you now come to the hospital, you are assessed. If the woman needs IVF, she will be told, if the woman does not need IVF there are other forms of treatments that can be given. For people who need IVF, when it is established, the advice is go for it, the higher you go, the better because as the age of a woman continues to increase, the age of a woman is key factor in the success of IVF, as the age continues to  climb up, the success rate goes down.

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Can an average couple afford IVF because that’s peoples biggest fear?

IVF is relatively affordable. There are many IVF clinics in town, and different clinics have different payments, some people, like us we have payment modalities that is affordable to an average Nigerian. All you need to do is come around, we discuss then we give you how you can go about paying for it. It’s affordable.

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