Nigerian couples and other patients have been admonished to disclose their true age when seeking treatment for infertility so as to promote the successful outcome of the procedures, Vanguard Newspaper reports.
The Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos, Asaba and Abuja, Dr Abayomi Ajayi, who stated this weekend, lamented that the reluctance, especially by women, to disclose their true age, remained a major challenge within fertility treatment circles.
Ajayi who spoke during a media webinar to mark the 11th anniversary of the Asaba Nordica Centre told Good Health Weekly that age was a major determinant of fertility, even as he regretted that the non-disclosure of the true age was constituting a setback to treatment outcomes.
“People don’t always tell us their real age and this has been one of the issues that we experienced in the Asaba Centre,” he said.
“When clients cut their age, it gives us a major challenge. You must know that your age is one of the most important determinants of your fertility particularly as a woman.”
According to Ajayi, it is important to know the exact age of women undergoing fertility treatment procedures such as IVF so that they can be treated appropriately.
“If you do not tell us your true age, we would use the wrong treatment approach and it might not work for you. Your true age is important for successful treatment, and this was a challenge that we faced in Asaba at the onset.”
Further, Ajayi said a person’s looks have nothing to do with their reproduction potential. “You can look young but you will always have the reproductive capability of your age. The effect of age is more significant with women even though men are also affected. So unless women tell us their true age, we cannot know.”
He said a wrongly quoted age has a direct effect on fertility treatment in several ways. He noted that a woman’s eggs are as old as she is and eggs tend to lose viability with age.
“For instance, if you’re 40 but you tell us that you are 35, and we treat you as a 35-year-old, it would have a significant impact on the outcome of your treatment. But if you are 45 and you tell us upfront that you are 45, we would treat you as a 45-year-old and this would be an advantage to the outcome of your treatment.”
In a related development, Nigerian women diagnosed with fibroids can now benefit from safe removal of the fibroids through non-invasive surgical procedures that are being made available at the Nordica Fertility Clinics in the country.
Ajayi, who said the Nordica group is planning to begin the non-surgical treatment of fibroids early in 2021 as part of measures to expand services of the Nordica Fertility Centres, explained that in the treatment of fibroids, the ideal candidate must be chosen for the ideal procedure.
“What we are trying to do is to give patients who have fibroid but do not want to undergo surgery an alternative that would take their symptoms away. We have been carrying out minimally invasive surgery to treat fibroids over the years, but now we want to start carrying out non-invasive surgery.”
“Prior to this time, we were removing the fibroid through laparoscopy, but now, we just want to give our women all the available options. If it is minimally invasive surgery or non-invasive surgery, we want to ensure the services are available because fibroids are very common in this environment.”
Noting that over 3,000 babies had been conceived in Nordica Centres in Nigeria over the years, Ajayi said Nordica in Asaba had contributed to changing the narrative of fertility treatment for the better in the South East of Nigeria.
“We are still doing that and enabling clients to have access to modern medical care. We offer fertility treatment to single women, and we don’t discriminate, except for surrogacy. Being single doesn’t disqualify you from fertility treatment.”
In her own views, Dr Ann Onyekwere, a gynecologist at the Nordica Asaba Centre urged beneficiaries of IVF to talk more about it.
“Knowledge is power and it is important that we encourage people to talk about undergoing fertility treatment. People are still secretive about having children through IVF, they hide this fact and we need to disabuse this notion in order to help others who also need to benefit rather than going to the wrong places. There is nothing wrong with having babies through IVF.”