By Chioma Umeha
Mr. Omoz Evborokhai, president of Fertility Awareness Advocate Initiative (FAAI), a non-profit support group, has rued the ignorance among the public on the treatment for In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF).
IVF is the most common and most effective type of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to help women become pregnant. It involves fertilizing the egg outside the body.
He explained that the ignorance has resulted to couples with such health challenges walking in the dark and finding treatment difficult to get even when it is not.
Evborokhai said this during the launching of FAAI in Lagos at the weekend.
He stated that the group’s aims and objectives include the promotion of awareness on treatment for infertility as well as offering counseling support to those undergoing fertility treatments, and assisting in breaking the myths and misconceptions surrounding infertility in Nigeria.
“Over time, we have discovered that there is ignorance in the populace as to IVF treatment options and as a result a number of couples grope in darkness and go through hell in seeking help.
“We at FAAI believe that people should get to know that there is hope at the end of the tunnel and that they can have babies through legitimate processes.
“FAAI promotes enforcement of regulatory standards in the treatment of infertility in Nigeria and collaborates with organisations with similar objectives.
According to Evborokhai, the counseling process affords FAAI the opportunity to build hope on the patients with information that they are not alone in the challenges as others have gone through similar part.
“By offering counseling support, we let couples on the fertility journey know that others have gone through this same route and achieved successes. We also share our experiences which goes a long way to inspire them.”
Also speaking at the occasion, Folasade Ogunsola, a Professor of Medical Microbiology and current Provost, College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, said applauded FAAI for its efforts.
She said that the College of Medicine of the university has also come a long way in the fight against infertility.
Ogunsola advocated for continued research on the causes and ways to control infertility in order to make Invitro Fertilisation (IVF) and other certified treatments more affordable to couples who are being confronted by such health challenges.
“We have come a long way in infertility treatment, and we need to continue to demystify it.
She, however, urged couples who have benefitted from the treatment to share their stories in order to encourage others.
“We are also encouraging couples that have benefited from the treatment procedures to come out and share their stories,” she said.
The don went down memory lane at LUTH, recalling when there was little or no hope for infertility treatment, saying that people who went to the clinic at that time had no solution to their problems.
“It was such a miserable time and I was really moved. We felt that even if we could do the O (Obstetrics) without the G (Gynaecology), it would not be enough. At the infertility clinic at LUTH, the same people were there in year after year; there was no solution.
“It is great that we are having solutions now and that those that have availed themselves of the solutions are happy to talk about it so that others can benefit.
Ogunsola also urged collaboration in the fight against this dreaded medical defect with huge emphasis on research and finding other methods through which the burden of treatment can be reduced.
“As you create awareness and counsel, I would also want you to think about when this group is matured so that it will collaborate with the universities to expand frontiers of knowledge through research as alternate methods of finding out ways that we can reduce the burden and cost of treatment.”
On his own during the launching, Dr Abayomi Ajayi, Medical Director/CEO, Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos, Abuja & Asaba, noted that through hearing the success stories of others, people suffering from infertility will have a different perception of the disease.
He further said that such success stories will remove any fear they would have injected into their systems, while also saying that they need to be enlightened on the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART).
“Having children is the ultimate goal for most married couples. At Nordica, we discovered that most of our patients crave support and need to be enlightened about Assisted Reproductive Treatment, ART.
“They also need to hear the success stories of others in order to help them overcome their fears and also unmask any negative perception they might have towards seeking fertility treatments.
“The search for a solution gave birth to this support group called FAAI, which has the goal to reach out to the public and enlighten them about ART.