ODIRI UCHENUNU-IBEH writes on how some couples handled challenges resulting from failed In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). “I literally went through hell while trying to get pregnant as I attempted all known means of conception both traditional and orthodox but to no avail”. These were the words of Mrs Omolara Adejuwon. Adejuwon who has been married for eleven years now said she has come under intense pressure from her in-laws to give them an offspring. She told our correspondent that she tried IVF a couple of times before she got the desired result.
Mrs Chiwendu Okeke also said she went through hell while trying to get pregnant. To her, it wasn’t an easy journey to embark upon, but with persistence, she was able to carry her bundle of joy. Okeke, while sharing her experience said, “I got married 2007 and ever since then, I have been struggling to get pregnant. At a point our family doctor advised me to go for IVF. My husband and I were reluctant initially, but we had no other option left for us to choose from because age wasn’t on our sides. “In 2011, we started planning for it financially. We were able to gather the money and the doctor did the process and called us days after for the implantation.
After the implantation, the two weeks waiting period was hell for me. I was restless and a lot of questions kept running through my mind. “Two weeks finally came and we rushed to the clinic only to be told that it wasn’t successful. I was devastated and couldn’t be comforted. I just felt that there was no point living and that I will never carry my own child. “After months of counseling, my husband and I decided to do another cycle. To cut the long story short, that also fails. We did it for like five times, before it was successful. Here I am today with my twins. God didn’t just give me one, He gave me two.” What is her advice to couples battling with fertility problems? She said, “The only advice I can give to them is perseverance.
If they really want to carry their child, then they need to persevere and not give up. The process may not be easy. It is never easy for me, but I continued despite disappointment. Immediately I saw my baby, i was overjoyed. I couldn’t remember the pain and struggles anymore.” It has become obvious that couples that are struggling with IVF failure suffer various degree of emotional meltdown and usually go through a variety of experiences. For most of them, it is often a case of double jeopardy as they lament over the fact that they parted with money with no result to show.
New study by the Assisted Reproductive Technology in Australia and New Zealand has however shown that the success rate of IVF depends on multiple cycles. The study looked over 66 thousand women who did IVF. It shows that if 62 percent of the women had persevered, they would have had a baby from IVF, but because they did one cycle that failed, they backed out. According to IVF specialists, dealing with IVF failure can be very tough and the disappointment is always very deep rooted and after everything a couple has been through, it would be difficult to accept that there will be a baby at the end. One IVF failure or even a couple of failed cycles should not be the end. It is possible to achieve success in the first try, while some couples have IVF success after several attempts.
To IVF specialists, understanding that the pain will come and knowing what next to do in order to gain back psychological resilience, would go a long way in reducing the agony couples would undergo with IVF. The Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, in an interview with LEADERSHIP said the most efficient method for treating infertility is IVF especially in an environment like ours where tubal factor and sperm count are the main problem. How do we assess IVF? Ajayi said, “When we talk about success rate of IVF, people want it to be about 80 percent. When you tell couples 50 percent, to them it is too poor, whereas in the normal cycle , every month, a couple has 20 to 25 percent chance of getting pregnant and that is in their peak reproductive age. So, if IVF can even give us 40 percent, it is doing better than what nature can do.”
The managing director said the success rate of IVF can increase if couples go for multiple cycles. He said, “Many people don’t do enough cycles in order to get the benefits of what IVF can deliver, especially when they had a failed cycle, they just quickly drop out of IVF and this is due to the fact that it takes a toil on their finance and emotion. “If you are less than 35 years and you do one cycle, your realistic success rate is about 35 to 40 percent. But if you do three cycles, your success rate goes up to about 75 percent. So that is better than just doing one cycle. “Now we know that the success of IVF is dependent on the age, so imagine if a woman at the age of 34 had a failed IVF, then she goes home for two years either to gather money or maybe she is not emotionally ready due to the fact that she is afraid of failure, she may be too old by the time she is ready.” Speaking on the cost of IVF, Ajayi said, “In Nigeria, we pay out of pocket and majority of Nigerians may not afford multiple cycles, but one of the ways we have encouraged them is to have packages that they can afford.
Apart from reducing the price, we also provide emotional support and give couples enough information before they even start to let them know the success rate. “We also enlightened them that if the IVF fails, the best way to go about it is to embark on multiple cycles. The more the cycles that they do, the more the chances that they are going to succeed.“ Ajayi, while speaking on why IVF fails, said IVF can fail due to aneuploidy, which is abnormal number of chromosomes, adding that it can lead to implantation failure and miscarriage. He said, “The main reason for failed implantation and failed development is due to aneuploidy, which is the incorrect number of chromosomes and the age of couples. When you are less than 35, about 30 percent of your embryos cannot form baby and when you are 41 to 42, about 80 per cent of your embryos cannot form babies.”