To some couples, infertility is a death sentence. To some others, it can end if they persevere in seeking medical help. Odimegwu Onwumere consoles couples struggling with infertility in their marriages with a story of a 62yr old woman who gave birth after 38yrs of childlessness and also, highlighted some of the causes of infertility while proffering solution
Many families are going down the drain due to their incapability to have a child of their own, which often is not a fault of theirs. Childlessness has made many barren couples to lose their voice. In some cases, science has not helped such couples the same way nature has not been very kind to them. As a result, many of such childless marriages have hit the rocks. Some of the couples entangled in this crank have lost their voice. They would not want to relay their fears concerning infertility.
His voice resonated as he complained to this writer that his marriage was crashing because of the infertility his wife and he have struggled for 8 years.
This man, who would prefer to remain anonymous due to stigma attached to couples struggling with infertility in this clime, said that his wife had conducted Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS.
They have spent heavily on fertility treatment yet doctors were not certain where their problem was, where they had to go to. They even had IVF, but there was no cry of a child to show for their effort.
The depressing aspect was that the wife was full of anxiety as her clock ticked. She was 36 years old and with fear that she was too old. All over her, depression was written.
Her supportive husband was losing his energy and emotions to encourage her, spent. His head was blank as he had run out of ideas of who to complain to and where to go to for help.
The heightening tension was that he was losing the affection he had for the wife, the once love of his life. He was enveloped with years of bad news after they had undergone years of medical test.
But while the couple who pleaded for anonymity was battling with infertility for 8 years, there was hope for a 62 years old woman who had suffered infertility for 38 years.
Margaret Davou, a native of Zawan in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State underwent a reproductive technology procedure in Jos, after 38 years of infertility in marriage. She latter gave birth to her first child on March 27 2017, through a Caesarean section at the GynaeVille Specialist Hospital, Jos.
Unfortunately, it was not her first trial. She enthused that she had gone through the surgeon’s knife in several occasions and had undergone the different fertility treatment in different hospitals for the fourth time till her baby girl was reportedly delivered at about 36 weeks.
Her husband, Mr. Samson was full of thanksgiving given that their God decided to favour them, wipe away their tears, and shame. Now, his wife was encouraging other women to depend on God for the fruit of the womb while they do the needful in the hospital.
However, the woman was not left alone in her testimony; the Director of the hospital, Dr. Kenneth Egwuda was full of ecstasy that Davou’s God was keen to favour her because she was 62.
As according to Dr. Egwuda, “God decided to favour this woman because based on her age, 62; at her first visit in this facility in 2016, many would have doubted the success of the treatment.
“But because she looks strong and healthy for her age, we decided to take her as our patient. I never worried about her age, but IVF is a game of chance and not 100 percent certain that you will get pregnant.
“When she got pregnant, it never occurred to me that something fundamental or striking had happened until someone called my attention to it that this is the oldest reported woman in Africa to give birth at 62 with assisted reproductive technology and it happened here.”
Infertility In Nigerian Couples
Without a doubt, infertility among couples in Nigeria is growing in number. Experts had their fear that 40 to 45 percent of all consultations in gynecological clinics are infertility-related. They also said that the two different types of infertility which are, primary and secondary infertility, are a growing problem in the country.
Defining them, they said that Primary Infertility is where a woman who has never conceived a child in the past has difficulty conceiving, while Secondary Infertility is where a mother, who has had one or more pregnancies in the past, is having difficulty conceiving again. They added that infertility is not a factor only associated to women but also men.
While the common causes of infertility in women include lack of regular ovulation (the monthly release of an egg), blockage of the fallopian tubes, age and endometriosis, the most common cause in men is poor quality semen.
However, Endometriosis is one of the major factors responsible infertility in women in the entire world and an estimated 100,000 Nigerian women are living with the condition.
Nigerian singer Saeon was full of an ugly testimony of how she was battling with endometriosis, cystic ovary and fibroid at a celebration of international women’s day.
Respectively, Mrs. Olivia Chinwendu Nwakudo, a graduate of microbiology, said, “I know what I went through. It took 11 years from the onset of my symptoms before I was told the cause of my pains.”
Saeon had been going through difficult menstrual cramps and every year, her experience got worse. She said, “Prior to the diagnosis, I hadn’t really heard of or paid attention to endometriosis and I catch myself wishing I had been educated on it as this knowledge could have helped in earlier diagnosis and my not having to go through the stress of some symptoms I dealt with.”
Conversely, as according to Endometriosis.org, there are different signs to the monster, which are stated as follows: Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus called “the endometrium”, is found outside the uterus, where it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue.
Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (ie. usually between the ages of 15 to 49), which is approximately 176 million women in the world.
Endometriosis can start as early as a girl’s first period. Symptoms include painful periods, painful ovulation, pain during or after sexual intercourse, heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, fatigue, and infertility, and can impact on general physical, mental, and social well being.
A general lack of awareness by both women and health care providers, due to a “normalisation” of symptoms delays diagnosis.
There is no known cure and although Endometriosis can be treated effectively with drugs, most treatments are not suitable for long-term use due to side-effects.
Surgery (such as conducted by Dr. Abayomi of Nordica Centres in Nigeria) can be effective to remove endometriosis lesions and scar tissue, but success rates are dependent on the extent of disease and the surgeon’s skills.
Women have a higher risk of developing endometriosis if their mother and/or sister(s) are also affected.
It is believed that infertility can be treated with therapies such as medication or surgery and they are itemised: 1. Medical treatment for lack of regular ovulation. 2. Surgical procedures, such as treatment for endometriosis. 3. Assisted conception, which may be intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
“There are numerous clinics and medical centers in Nigeria that can help couples who are having difficulty conceiving children,” said experts. “The cost for most fertility treatments varies, with IVF treatments costing between N800,000 and N1,000,000.”
They added, “While some couples find it easy to get pregnant quickly, it can take longer for others. If you have been unable to conceive after one year of trying, it’s time to consult your doctor or medical provider.”
Odimegwu Onwumere is a multiple awards-winning journalist and publisher of ooreporters.com based in Rivers State. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The expressions in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of ooreporters.com.
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