Late marriage can worsen infertility – Expert
The Medical Director of St. IVES Specialist Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, Dr. Tunde Okewale, has attributed the increasing rate of infertility in Nigeria to stress, pollution and exposure to harmful chemicals.
He advised Nigerian women against late marriage. The expert warned that late marriage could worsen infertility, especially in women.
Okewale stated these while speaking with journalists in Lagos on Tuesday on the first invitrofertilisation baby delivered by the hospital. He put the rate of infertility in the country at 25 per cent.
The medical director disclosed that the IVF baby was conceived through the parents’ sperm and egg. He further said, “Two other women are due for delivery in July and August 2008. Eight others are in various stages of pregnancy at the IVF unit.”
He also blamed the problem of infertility on late marriage, particularly by women. The consultant added that fertility in women decreased with their ages.
“For example, the probability of a woman in her 20s getting pregnant is higher than the one in her late 30s,” the consultant said. The medical director also stated that a lot of women, because of educational pursuit and inability to find willing suitors, married late.
“While about 40 per cent of infertile couples will get pregnant by themselves through changes in their lifestyles and by standard gynaecological treatments, 60 per cent will require assisted conception techniques,” he added.
Okewale said the cost of IVF in the country could be reduced by cutting down a series of tests that would not affect the outcome of the procedure. In Nigeria, the cost of IVF ranges from N500,000 to N1m depending on the hospital.
He said, “Efforts, time and money should not be wasted by concentrating on a list of useless and fanciful tests and investigations that do not affect the treatment and the outcome of IVF.
“It is bad enough being infertile, but going through tests that add no value to the outcome of the procedure drains the couples emotionally and financially. Keeping the treatment complex helps some clinics to justify the abnormally high fees they charge.”
According to Okewale, IVF is used for women, whose fallopian tubes have been blocked due to surgery or infections. He added that it could also be used for a man with low sperm count or immotile sperm.
The expert explained, “IVF treatment involves the administration of fertility drugs, monitoring of the cycle, collection of eggs, mixing eggs and sperm together outside the woman’s body in a dish or a test tube. The resulting embryo are left to grow and the best embryo are then transferred into the woman’s womb.”
Advising women that want to get pregnant, he said they should avoid smoking and alcohol. He added that women that had just gone through embryo transfer in IVF should take folic acid, refrain from oven and avoid strenuous exercises.
Okewale also supported the call for regulation of assisted reproduction in Nigeria. “Before you establish an IVF clinic, there must be a regulation that will guide you,” he said.
Urging Nigerians to shun quacks, Okewale stated that infertility in some couples was worsened when they were treated by quacks.