The pains and gains of IVF

By  Margaret Oraza and Jovitta Iorshase

Bareness has always been toil in most marriages since time immemorial. It almost caused Hannah and many other women in the Bible their marriages. Hannah’s bitter experience then, is what most women still experience today.

Couple who would have grown old together, separate after many years of togetherness due to childlessness. Even some patient ones become overwhelmed by family pressures, societal aggrandizement, peer comparison that sometimes lead to cold marriage.

This issue, unfortunately, has affected women the most .The men who are sometimes the cause of infertility appear less pressured. Though a few shows some level of concern some don’t, leaving the women ‘alone’ to suffer the void or emptiness.

Speaking with The Voice, Dr. Edwin Ogwuche of Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH)  Makurdi, explained that “some causes of infertility are based on congenital causes which people are born with which, is also in female”.

Dr. Michael Ijiko of the Foundation Hospital Makurdi also explained that, handling the issue of infertility, IVF and fertility procedures in a society where everybody believes in God either Muslim or Christian is a bit complicated.

“People are actually at the mercy of the acceptance of their pastors and Imams to those procedures and the outcome is still in the hands of God and they still want to be prayed for while the case of is ongoing, “he stated.

Over the years, couple had resolved to the use of sorogate and some are still using the same method even today to enable them have children of their own.

However, there are some who still wish to feel the gradual development of a foetus in their wombs. For such, the arrival of the modern Medical technology called the In Vetro Fertilization (IVF) was a dream come true to a long awaited prayer.

 It is a process which fertilization of the sperm and ovaries is done both biologically and medically, and has indeed put smiles on the faces of many women.

According to a renowned gynaecologist and an In Vetro Fertilization (IVF) expert, Dr. Stephen Hwande, IVF which started in 1978 first in Britain was introduced to Nigeria in the 80s and 90s.He explained that though IVF has been established not too long in Benue State, it achievement of assisting women with bad or damaged tubes or husbands with ezofemia (poor sperm perimeters) were not attainable in other states like Taraba, Kogi, Lafia or Cross River .

 Dr. Hwande, while being featured on View Point, a radio programme said: “I have helped in fertility and ended divorce with cheerful homes now, because women who conceive at late 50s and 60s’ body physiciology may not take the pregnancy to nine months.”

“However, with the Neonatal Intensive Unit which was commissioned 25th June,2020,I can deliver a baby at six months to save the baby and the mother so that has to save us the complications of having child or maternal mortality.”

Though the system has impacted positively on a lot of marriages, its disadvantages in recent times are too glaring to be over looked .The advent of IVF when introduced earlier had quenched the thirst of many for motherhood, availing them the opportunity to bear children from their womb.

Sadly, at the moment, the opposite is now the case. The process that is supposedly advanced has been infiltrated by inexperienced doctors. The increase in death of women who go through the In Vetro Fertilization process is alarming. It becomes ironical when the women die without nursing the children they had longed for. There are countable painful IVF related deaths.

 The unanswered questions are: Why would any medical doctor handling such a medically and emotionally sensitive issue give room for fatality? Why would an ‘experienced gynaecologist’ not ascertain the body capability of their patients before carrying out such a process? Why do things go wrong along the line even unto death if the process is not done on the bases of trial and error?

To proffer answers, Dr. Hwande also explained that this is where proper management of high risk pregnancy comes in.

His words: ” Though pregnancy  itself is a normal state, statistics have shown that 15% of other pregnancies will require some attention or Will become complicated either by bleeding(Hemorrhage), High blood pressure or women with existing medical conditions, like Diabetes, Infections, HIV/AIDS and advanced age which predisposes them to death”.

He mentioned other challenges like lack of specialists, crisis, rural difference as contributing factors to child and maternal mortality 100 out 100,000 pregnancies.

Why do some women still insist on going through the process at the detriment of their lives? In as much as a marriage without a child or children is a bitter pill to swallow, it is still better than dying to have children one would not live to nurture.

Fulfillment as essence of life can create a great void when not felt, which is why couple should approach the issue of child bearing from the level of sorogatecy, In Vetro Fertilization, child adoption among others.

In developed societies, couples do this without shame or fear of stigmatization, gossips and even family segregation and rejection.

It is high time individuals, couples, families rise to break the stereotype surrounding child bearing by adoption or  any other legal method of interest to have children of one’s choice against societal criticism, prejudices and stigmatization.

Certain personalities have set a standard that the society conforms to, and this cannot be an exception with an issue as child bearing.

Most men go through terrible traumatic experiences after the death of their wives so much that, the children born are not even cared for as  when given birth in normal circumstances. This is rather a minus than a plus and the pain of loss is most times even greater than that of childlessness the couple usually experience.

 A woman does not have to die to have children, that are why choosing a favourable means for women with birth complications will help stop this ugly trend.

 Going forward, Dr. Hwande suggested that, a good knowledge of potentials of women with high risk pregnancies of dying  will help and when the health system is improved by acquiring the necessary facilities.

He stated:”I am trained to know the potentials of a woman with high risk pregnancy of dying while pregnant because of a health condition example, what disease, is it type 1, 2, 3 and how long she can carry the pregnancy with the suitable diet etc.

“So because I have the facility I can time and bring out a baby to save both the mother and child, and I dictate the number of foetus a system can carry even though some excited women would ask for 3 or 4. But someone that does not have that facility will only try to manage from seven to eight months and that results to death most times.”

The societal supportive mentality should be created against the usual judgmental attitudes by many and  a lawsuit with stiffer penalties should be meted  against any  doctor who record more than one  death of women undergoing any form of fertility treatment in their hospitals.

Religiously too, God has given every individual a challenge or cross to bear in life, no one has it all. There is that ‘special thing’ that is always lacking. Some have almost everything but lack peace, others have children with no husbands or wives, others husbands or wives with no children, still others have both without good health, while others bear the cross of wayward children and so on. People should therefore, learn to live or cope with those undesirable aspects of life to check avoidable tragedies.

Apostle Paul asked God thrice to take away an affliction that had caused him great pain but God did not. He (God) told Paul that his grace was sufficient for him to overcome. This can be a similar case most people face, but conscious adjustment to some of these issues is usually a mild solution.

 As humans whose lives are controlled by a supernatural being or whatever one believes in, spouses must imbibe patience, contentment and love, against societal pressures, greed, insatiable thirst for life pleasures, to avoid or limit life’s unpleasant surprises.

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