The Reproductive Medicine Unit of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, has delivered its first baby conceived with IVF treatment in the North West zone.
The team leader of the IVF Project, Prof. Adebiyi Adesiyun of the Department of Reproductive Medicine, disclosed this on Thursday in Zaria.
Adesiyun who was speaking on the milestone achieved by the ABUTH, added that the infant is male delivered at 10.53 a.m. on May 16, with a weight of three kilograms (3kg).
He said with this milestone, the ABUTH is set to make In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) more affordable for indigent couples, through a Public Private Partnership collaboration.
“It is costly and not available in the whole of the North West region ABUTH is the only public health facility that offers IVF.
“The journey did not start today; we have been on it for more than 12 years, but the paucity of funds in getting the right equipment was our major hindrance.
“However, considering these challenges, the unit approached the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Hamid Umdagas, with a proposal to partner with a private hospital, to offer this treatment to the public,” he said.
According to Prof Adesiyun, it was obliged by the management and this pioneer delivery was done in collaboration with a private fertility center in Kaduna, adding that the collaboration was hinged on the use of the embryology laboratory of the private fertility center in Kaduna, for the collection of female eggs and male sperm for fertilization.
He said other aspects of the treatment and patient management were done at ABUTH.
“We started not too long ago, we have done two cycles and we have some patients waiting to receive the treatment.
“We have clinics on Mondays, if you come you can see the number of patients that want the service,’’ he said.
He said the aim of the unit was to have a complete fertility center where the cost of the service would be drastically reduced.
Also speaking, a member of the team, Prof. Solomon Avidime, who said the Reproductive Medicine Unit of the hospital had enough manpower to attend to the needs of the people who want to conceive, lamented that however, that funding was their main challenge.
Avidime said they need to especially build and equip the proposed reproductive center in ABUTH.
He complained that there was a challenge in accessing foreign aid because the developed world was of the view that over-population was the problem of Nigeria and not under-population, which would make it difficult to access foreign support for these services.
“We need the government to understand that there are cohorts of women and men, who are suffering because they do not have children of their own.
“This group of people can only get children through IVF technology, so the government should come to their aid and provide the services for them.
He said the management of ABUTH had been supportive; it was making efforts to set up a complete fertility center under the Public Private Partnership, to make the services more available and affordable.