Thursday, 20 September 2018

A WOMAN’S EGGS CAN NOW BE EXTRACTED, FROZEN AND STORED TO BE USED WHEN SHE IS READY TO BECOME PREGNANT, SAYS DR. MICHAEL OGUNKOYA

Dr. Michael Ogunkoya
Fertility-challenged women start out on the road to motherhood with one mission – to birth a baby. They enter this journey with a clear and (mostly) level head. But for those who don’t get pregnant on during those early try, the road quickly alters into so much more than a path to a baby. Infertility rocks your world. It’s a challenge in its own right and the longer you deal with it, the more you become familiar with the other unfortunate types of challenges it holds, especially the emotional.

The roller coaster of emotions that comes with fertility treatments literally make you feel like you’re losing your mind at times. Keeping these emotions in check is key — but incredibly difficult. One day you’re hopeful and excited about trying to get pregnant, telling yourself that this cycle will be the cycle. You happily take your injections and suppositories because you know this is what will bring you a baby. Then you’re nervous at your appointment to get pregnant because you know there’s no guarantee. Not even when you’ve done everything you’re supposed to.

Such is the case of Mrs. Pelumi Oguntola, who battled infertility for 5 years, until her doctor counseled her to go for IVF and she gave birth to a set of twins after two attempts. Oguntola, it was discovered, got married in her late forties because she was busy pursuing her education as well as her career.

IVF literally means “the fertilization of eggs with sperm in glass,” which translates to fertilization outside of the body in the laboratory. There are two types of IVF: (1) stimulated cycle IVF, and (2) Natural Cycle IVF (NCIVF). Since its discovery, more than 4 million children have been born using IVF.

Age or menopause may no longer be a barrier to a woman having a child, thanks to oocyte cryopreservation, which is available in the country. Human oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) is a process where a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen and stored to be used when she is ready to become pregnant.

The ‘frozen’ eggs can be thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos. The cooling of cells and tissues to sub-zero temperatures stops all biological activities and preserves the eggs for future use. Two years ago, Nigeria recorded a success story of a baby born through this process and ever since, there have been so many success stories.

A world-class gynaecologist and fertility specialist, Dr. Michael Ogungoka, Managing Director of The Hope Valley Fertility Clinic, a hospital which started IVF in Nigeria in 2001 has till date recorded about 2,600 deliveries from its various procedures in the Assisted Conception Technology field, said: “The introduction of this technique completely changed – and geatly improved our ability to treat even the most difficult cases of infertility, many of which were previously untreatable.”

The ability to freeze and subsequently thaw and transfer embryos has significantly improved the feasibility of IVF use. Thus, IVF has become the final solutions for most fertility problems, moving from tubal disease to male factor, idiopathic sub-fertility, endometriosis, advanced maternal age, and an ovulation not responding to ovulation not responding to ovulation induction. When analyzing success rates in fertility treatment, it often turns out that the stated values refer to cumulative pregnancy rates. But what exactly is meant by this type of pregnancy rate?

According to Dr. Ogunkoya, cumulative is derived from the Latin word “cumulare” (to accumulate).  The cumulative pregnancy rates take account of all pregnancies achieved by IVF, following several successive embryo transfers. Irrespective of whether these embryos derived from so-called “fresh cycles” (the fertilized oocyst develops inside an incubator and is usually transfered to the uterus on the fifth day of embryonic development) or from “cryocycles” (for some reasons, the growing embryo can be frozen/cryopreserved, the frozen-thawed embryo can then be used in a future transfer).

The cumulative pregnancy rate also implies that the likelihood of getting pregnant increases with the number of already received therapy cycles. Particularly in case where the first attempt has failed, the couple concerned wants to know what the prospects are for achieving a pregnancy – either by undergoing another cycle of ovarian stimulation (carefully monitored administration of certain hormones designed to encourage the ovaries to produce a greater number of oocytes) or where appropriate, by transferring a frozen-thawed embryo from a previous IVF treatment cycles.

In the words of Dr. Michael Ogunkoya, “women can have their eggs frozen for so many reasons. Firstly, some women opt for this procedure because they are not ready to have a baby, while others are undergoing treatment for an illness that requires chemotherapy or therapy to part of the body near the ovaries.”

The earliest reasons for this is that for instance, a woman has undergone IVF and she has many eggs collected, she will use some and might decide to store the rest. “That is quite beneficial because it implies that whether the one she has done is successful or not, anytime she wants to get pregnant again, you don’t have to dose her up with fertility drugs; just go to where the eggs are stored and take some and fertilize them with the partner’s sperm.

“The third reason is the issue of women saying they are not ready to get married, that they still want to pursue their education or their career, and age is catching up on them. She can store her eggs or indeed her ovary at an earlier age. The reason is when a woman gets to 40 years upwards; she will be struggling to bear children for a long time which can last till about 10 years.

So, when she is ready, she could just approach the doctor with her husband and indicate her readiness and things will be sorted out. Take for instance in Europe, the most  women, not just because of their age, but because they have not met the right partner, store their eggs or ovaries for the same reason.”

The ovary eggs of a woman, Dr. Ogunkoya said, can be stored at any age. “No age barrier, as long as those needs are there and no negative stories at all.”

Feel free to come to our fertility clinic @
THE HOPE VALLEY FERTILITY CLINIC
Plot 31, Block 113,Gbemileke Akinsonwon Street, Opposite Treasure Garden, 3rd or Ikate Roundabout Lekki Phase 1,Lagos-Epe express Way, Lagos
08033069466