‘Couples must break silence on infertility, stigmatisation’
• ASPIRE to support underprivileged for IVF
Association for the Prevention of Infertility and Promotion of Reproductive Health and Rights (ASPIRE) have urged couples, particularly the women folks, on the need to break their silence on infertility.
The advocacy group said that by speaking up, the women can put an end to social stigma associated with infertility and improve their chances bearing children through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).
ASPIRE, at the relaunch of the support initiative, said that several women had been assisted to deal with the challenges of infertility, including bearing very healthy children.
Ambassador of the group, Ifeoma Emekwue, said findings had shown that a lot of childless women desire support but don’t known how to go about it, coupled with several misconceptions about Invitro Fertilization (IVF) .
Emekwue said: “We (the ASPIRE group) have all gone through the challenges of infertility and we know where the shoe pinches the most. We have indeed experienced ART and we can tell those still ashamed to talk about infertility that it a challenge that has a solution and children conceived via ART are normal children,” she said.
A couple is infertile when there is difficulty with conception despite regular unprotected sexual intercourse of at least 12 months duration. The common causes, according to experts, are fallopian tube damage, ovarian problems, uterine anomalies and more common sperm problems.
Consultant Gynecologist, Dr Omotayo Abiara, observed that infertility affects one in every four to nine couples. And because of the high premium placed on childbearing, infertility is a major social and emotional problem, with attendant marital issues for the couples.
Abiara added that The Bridge Clinic took it headon to tackle this problem in the last 16 years, providing professional treatment and management of all causes of infertility with international standard and state of the art equipment. In year 2014, 47 per cent of their clients with ages less than 35 years got pregnant at their first attempt. It was only 20 per cent in 1999.
Emekwue said that since the formation of ASPIRE three years ago, the group has directly reach hundreds of couples, dealing with infertility through their various outreach programmes including peer-to-peer mentoring and Welcome Forum among others.
She said: “Due to the massive turnout at our quarterly Welcome Forum, we decided to make it monthly to accommodate these couples.
We also have regular radio programmes and would soon start television shows to encourage couples dealing with the challenges of infertility to seek qualitative assistance from reputable ART centres.
“I’m happy to report that despite the teething challenges we had in the past, we are succeeding in breaking the silence as more couples are taking part in the monthly welcome forum organised by our partners, The Bridge Clinic, to sensitise couples on the various treatment options available to them. Also many of these couples have been successful in their pregnancy quest and have had their own children, courtesy of our programmes.”
She added that they are also succeeding in our fight against the prejudices that are associated with infertility in Nigeria.