18:55 6th January 2021 | IVF
Every couple looks forward to having a family when they are ready. However, there are situations where we have to look at other options for starting a family.
When a couple is ready to have children, they begin to question how long is too late and whether they should seek medical care. Also, navigating professional help can be overwhelming because you have to consider questions like ‘where do we start looking?’, ‘who do we talk to?’ ‘how credible referrals are?’, ‘what facility should we visit?’ and so on.
At Bridge Clinic, we take your concerns seriously and take our time to understand them fully to ensure that we can help you understand your fertility challenges and, by thoroughly assessing you as a couple, we can arrive at the best treatment options that will give you both the best chance of achieving your dream…to have a family.
We understand that every couple is unique so we ensure that any treatment is tailored towards your specific needs. We will involve you in all the decision making as we know how important it is for you to be at ease and fully informed and most importantly, for you to understand each step of your treatment journey with us.
Treatment ranges from basic interventions like lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, understanding the signs of ovulation, and mapping out the best time to have sexual intercourse with your partner to more specialized care which involves assisted reproductive technology. This includes procedures like Intrauterine Insemination which is less invasive to interventions such as intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection where sperm is injected into the woman’s egg with a fine needle.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Treatment Options
1. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): This is a type of artificial insemination used in treating infertility largely due to unexplained infertility, infertility due to poor sperm quality and in cases where couples are unable to have sexual intercourse for whatever reason, be it psychological or physical. The sperm are washed, concentrated and placed directly in your uterus around the time your ovary releases a maximum of two eggs to be fertilized. The expected outcome of intrauterine insemination is for the sperm to swim into the fallopian tube and fertilise a waiting egg, resulting in a normal pregnancy. Obviously for IUI to be an option, there must be no problem with the woman’s fallopian tubes (a simple Xray dye test can check this) and the man’s sperm must be motile. Depending on the reasons for infertility, IUI can be coordinated with your normal cycle or with fertility medications.
2. Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): This is the most common and successful treatment for male infertility as it has been found that the reason behind most couples' inability to conceive is sperm-related. ICSI is therefore recommended in cases of very low sperm count or abnormally shaped (poor morphology) sperm, or in sperm cells that do not move normally (poor motility). It has been found to be a suitable treatment option in couples who have had IVF previously and none or very few of the eggs were fertilised; In individuals whose sperm were surgically collected from the testicles or epididymis (a narrow tube inside the scrotum where sperm are stored and matured) - for example, because you have had a vasectomy. Overall, ICSI is an effective treatment for men with infertility.
3. Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT): formerly known as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) - is advanced care offered to individuals with the aim of preventing genetic abnormalities in parents from being transmitted to their baby by checking cells for genetic diseases and chromosomal disorders in embryos. PGT has given couples with conditions such as Sickle cell disease the chance to have healthy children who do not carry the abnormal genetic material and so are free of the condition. This procedure is performed with in-vitro fertilisation (IVF); as it involves the removal of cells from the developing embryo to provide the genetic makeup of the embryo. PGT helps to identify optimal embryos for transfer back into the woman’s womb in an IVF cycle, thereby improving the chance of having a healthy child. The benefits of PGT ranges from the ability to test more than 300 specific genetic diseases to its unique option of sex selection and family balancing. Overall, it decreases miscarriage rates as screened embryos (chromosomally normal) are transferred into the woman’s uterus.
Third-Party Reproduction Options
Egg Donation: Our services at Bridge Clinic also extend to older women who wish to have children of their own but are experiencing a decline in their fertility which is a natural occurrence over the age of 35, and more so over the age of 40. This can be a tough time to accept that one may not be able to have their own genetic child, but with the help of our experienced counsellors and clinical team, we support you emotionally throughout your treatment journey. The process involves younger women donating their eggs under strict selection criteria and thorough evaluation to ensure only the most suitable is available for the egg donation process. Women who decide to take this treatment have the option of either selecting a relative to donate their eggs or going through a donor agency.
Surrogacy: Some women are unable to carry a pregnancy due to a medical condition or have experienced multiple failed IVF procedures and for them, surrogacy may be the answer. At Bridge Clinic, we have an ethical approach to this option to ensure the welfare of all involved, including the unborn child, but rest assured that with our team of experienced counsellors alongside the clinical team, we guarantee a seamless process as we take you through the journey.
This involves freezing embryos, sperm or unfertilised eggs and storing them for later use. This process of egg freezing gives women who are yet to decide when they want to have their babies a chance of bearing a child in the future (commonly known as “social freezing”). Cancer patients are also able to freeze their sperm or eggs prior to cancer treatment so as to save their genetic material from the potentially harmful effects of radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Nigeria has high rates of cervical cancer and cancer in general, the treatment of which can lead to problems with fertility for patients. Eggs can be stored optimally for as long as 10 years. It will interest you to know that a frozen egg can be thawed, combined with sperm in a lab and implanted in your womb (by in vitro fertilisation) when you are ready to have your babies and Bridge Clinic had the first successful pregnancy from a frozen egg IVF treatment in Nigeria. A thorough clinical assessment will determine the suitability of a woman for an egg freezing treatment cycle.
Overall, coping with challenges when trying to conceive can be emotionally draining and traumatic and can place unnecessary strain on relationships. Stress can make becoming pregnant even more difficult and so a vicious cycle ensues. This is why at Bridge Clinic, we believe in a holistic approach, supporting the emotional as well as the physical wellbeing of our patients and, thus, we offer you invaluable support from our team of experienced counsellors, nurses and doctors throughout your assessments and subsequent treatments.
It is clear that there is no “one size fits all’ approach to managing fertility challenges and the key is to seek out a reputable and trusted quality-focused fertility centre to guide you on the best option for you. Bridge Clinic was conceived to deliver medical care of uncompromised quality in Nigeria. We have earned your trust over the past 20 years and become the number one centre for fertility services in West Africa.
By Dr. Rachael Opadiran
Contact Nigeria’s most trusted fertility clinic today.
Call: 01 631 0092 / Whatsapp: +234 (0)810 460 7791.
Visit: Ikeja | Victoria Island | Port Harcourt | Abuja
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