17 lucky couples win free fertility treatment by FTSF

• Five of them will enjoy free IVF – Ajayi
Fortune smiled on 17 couples who became grand winners of the Fertility Treatment Support Foundation (FTSF) during this year’s edition of the “Little Miracles,” held by FTSF with the support of Nordica Fertility Centre, in Lagos, weekend.

L-R: Clinic Manager, Nordica Fertility Centre, Mrs. Tola Ajayi; winner of the free IVF screening, Mrs. Onwumah; and Managing Director of Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi at the raffle draw which produced 17 winning couples, held at the Civic Centre in Lagos at the weekend.
The comfy scene at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos was filled with excitement as the MC announced telephone numbers and names of 17 lucky winners of this year’s contest who will receive free fertility treatment, while five of them are to enjoy free In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in addition.

The Managing Director of Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Ajayi Abayomi, said that the exercise is geared to reduce the burden of infertility in the country, especially for indigent couples who would not normally have access to this type of health care.

Stating this during the raffle draw event, at the Civic Centre, Abayomi added that that over the years, FTSF has delivered free fertility treatment to over 126 less privileged couples, helping them to realise their dream to have their own babies.

The contest which started over a month ago, had entries of over 6,000 couples from various parts of the country, including; Abuja, Kano, Enugu, Rivers, Lagos, among others.

At the end of the draw, 15 couples plus additional two chosen among the audience emerged winners. Names of the winners are: Mrs. Chukwukelu Ifeyinwa, Uju & Mike Mendu, Esther Oke, Nnaemeka, Augustine O Akpoka, Musa Hassan, Ikechukwu Esedebe, Omoregbe, Onyibe, Agbo, Golleng David, Festus Udoh, Obinna Emezi, Arikawe and Ajayi.

According to him, the idea was to create awareness and educate Nigerians on the importance of IVF, apart from assisting indigent couples who have infertility issues, adding that, the beneficiaries would not have to worry about paying for any treatment as the complete cycle would be the responsibility of the foundation.

On how the five couples would be selected out of the lucky 17 that won the contest, he said it would be based purely on medical consideration, as those without complications would be given the slots first.

Continuing, he said one of the major issues still affecting the treatment of IVF in Nigeria was the lack of forums to discuss, adding that the foundation was also set up to address that challenge as well as train and educate doctors, media and the general public on IVF.

“We also want people who have successfully gone through IVF to come out and share their stories. Other couples suffering in silence need to hear these stories so that they can be motivated to seek treatment,” he added.
On his part, the Health Editor, Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Sola Ogundipe, said a lot of couples were going through the agony of infertility but that the challenge of majority of them was financing of the treatment.

“Any time I write about the issue, about 99 per cent of the calls I receive always bother on cost of treatment. Most people are not accessing it because of the financial implication,” he noted.
He however said that affected couples need not have deep pockets before they can say they are ready, stressing that prioritising the treatment would make them save towards it.

He appealed to those who have benefitted from IVF to come out and share their stories, as it might help other couples. “A lot of couples who have benefitted from IVF are doing a disservice to those who are aspiring to benefit by not talking about it.”

He believes this on the long run would make IVF more affordable as it would demystify the treatment.
Also speaking at the occasion, the officer in charge of Access Bank’s Maternal Health Service Scheme, Mr. Ejike Izejiobi, said the bank has identified financing as the major challenge preventing couples from accessing IVF treatment, hence they decided to put up deliberate initiatives to address it.

“The scheme, which generally targets the health of women, is also aimed at providing loans to couples needing IVF treatments. We can give as high as N4 million, as well as finance a maximum of three different cycles,” adding that accessing the loan was not cumbersome. “All we need to know is that you can pay back so that another couple can benefit from the gesture,” he said.

Omoz Evborokhai, the President Fertility Awareness Advocate Initiative (FAAI); during a question and answer session enjoined everyone to spread the word of hope to couples who are going through challenge of infertility.

He said: “We at FTSF will continue to provide the much needed support system or platform for those couples who are fertility challenged to interact and share their problems.”

Similarly, Engineer Ebenezer Soetan, Vice President, (FAAI) narrated his success story after many years undergoing through the exercise. Soetan further explained that FTSF which was formerly known as EART 

Foundation was established in 2008 as a result of the growing occurrence of infertility in our society today. “The foundation over the years has provided free fertility screening and treatment to over 126 less-privileged couples as her contribution to helping them realize their baby dreams. The foundation also provides educative and enlightenment programmes to the public and the medical professionals.”

 This story was published in Newswatch Times on October 22, 2015. 


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