Set on the day on which the first In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) conceived baby was born – July 25, 1978 – World IVF Day marks the importance of the IVF technique in infertility treatment.
A subsidiary of Medifem Multi-Specialist Hospital, the Accra Fertility Centre (AFC), having championed infertility treatment for close to a decade, decided to mark this year’s IVF day with social media activations to raise awareness about infertility treatment and to encourage couples to defy the stigma and seek help.
The IVF technique involves a “series of procedures used to help with fertility and assist with the conception of a child.” During IVF, matured eggs are retrieved from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab, under strict and conducive conditions. It is this process of fertilisation outside an organism in a test tube or culture dish that is termed “In Vitro” – Latin for “within the glass”. The fertilized egg(s) are then transferred into an uterus to be carried for nine-month gestation period.
Most Effective Reproductive Technology
According to the Doctor-In-Charge at the AFC, Dr. Nana Kwame Henaku-Larbi, “unlike other fertility treatments, the process of IVF allows for control of the number of embryos to be transferred into the uterus and the possibility to test for other conditions that might be indicated by the medical history.” IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. The procedure can be done using one’s own eggs and partner’s sperm or from a known or anonymous donor.
Taboos, Stigma and Free Sex
According to research, 1 in 6 couples across the globe experience fertility issues and around 48.5 million couples worldwide having unprotected intercourse are still suffering from infertility. The WHO in 2004 said 1 in 4 couples in ‘developing’ countries is affected by infertility. However, this has not curbed the taboo of infertility and too many struggle in silence and without any knowledge of what may potentially be causing their issues.
This, the Coordinator at the AFC, Mrs. Tracy Yeboah Amoafo says is “very challenging and couples must come out to seek help as there are solutions available”.
She intimates that because we don’t talk about fertility in our country, most couples don’t understand fertility and society makes it difficult for couples to cope with infertility. She further adds that couples must have “free sex”. This she explains as having spontaneous, stress and anxiety-free sex boosted by a “few pre-natal vitamins.” Tracy remarks that women’s bodies are designed such that anxiety destabilises the hormones and pregnancy can hardly take place.
Statistics and 43 years of Success
Classified as a disease by the WHO, 30% of infertility cases can be attributed solely to the female, 30% can be attributed solely to the male, 30% can be attributed to a combination of both partners, and 10% of cases have an unknown cause. (Fertility Answers, 2020)
Marking 43 years since the first success and producing about 8.5 million babies since, IVF makes a good case for infertility treatment and experts say if you have been trying for two years and have had no success, visit your GP and ask for fertility tests.
The Accra Fertility Centre is a leading fertility centre in Ghana with state-of-the-art IVF/ICSI equipment and a highly experienced medical team subspecialty certified in In-Vitro fertilization (IVF), Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) and other assisted conception technology procedures. Their experts, according to the Doctor-In-Charge, “provide up-to-date treatments and are always determined to search for new and better options.”