A fertility expert, Dr. Michael Ogunkoya spoke with Mary Ekah and revealed innovations that would certainly make every couple, especially those seeking pregnancy, happy
For some couples, who are plagued with fertility problems, getting pregnancy is a frustrating dream but a fertility expert has stated that if they seek medical help early, solution comes easily with the help of advanced technology. Today, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is practically a household word. But not so long ago, it was a mysterious procedure for infertility that produced what were then known as "test-tube babies.?
Unlike the simpler process of artificial insemination, in which sperm is placed in the uterus and conception precedes otherwise normally, IVF involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body in a laboratory. Once an embryo or embryos form, they are then placed in the uterus. IVF is a complex and expensive procedure; only a few couples with infertility seek it. However, since its introduction, IVF and other similar techniques have resulted in more babies.
According to the Managing Director of Hope Valley International Clinic Limited, an assisted reproduction and fertility centre for males and females, Dr. Michael Ogunkoya, infertility treatments have improved, options have expanded and doctors are more skilled at the techniques. Evaluations are done earlier than in years past and the trend is to treat more aggressively, especially if the mother-to-be is older.
Now, success rates have improved dramatically and the average success rates for births at fertility clinics have roughly doubled in the past decade. This is all thanks to the newly developed technologies in IVF procedures, which is changing the playing field for fertility doctors across the country, which have helped more patients to start families.
From the way he describes the newly developed high-tech tools that are now being used at the Hope Valley Fertility Centre to achieve high success rate in in-vitro fertilization (IVF), one would have thought the Creator Himself is at work. Ogunkoya said that at Hope Valley Clinic, they have been able to upgrade their equipment to be able to render very high-level fertility care to the patients.
He enumerated some of the new techniques put in place to enhance increased success rates for couples seeking pregnancy to include Intra-cytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection (IMSI) -a process where the most morphological normal sperm is selected into the egg; lasser assisted hatching, in which case the surroundings of the egg is weakened to make it easier for the sperm to enter in those people whose eggs do not allow sperm to enter easily and hysteroscopy - a process which allows experts to look into the womb to verify if the womb is in a good shape to receive an embryo are some of the newly developed techniques being carried out at Hope Valley for more successful procedure for couples seeking IVF.
?One of the latest technologies is called Intra-cytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection (IMSI). It is a process where you put sperm in a dish and select one of the sperms that is morphologically normal and put inside the cytoplasm of the egg. That means the sperm selected has a normal structure. And if we do not do that and we allow an abnormal sperm to get into the female egg, that may not lead to success but if we select that sperm that unites with the egg, it?s better?, he noted.
The fertility doctor explained that the earlier technology, Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), on the other hand, does not select adding, ?You just pick one of the sperms that you see and put it in the egg. But with IMSI, the most morphological normal sperm is selected into the woman?s egg, which makes the huge difference.?
He said that before IMSI came on board, a lot of failure at IVF or miscarriage after pregnancy has occurred due to abnormality in embryo but by carefully selecting the sperm that are more normal, which has not been very much so with ICSI, it is now possible for more women to get pregnant and for less number of them to have miscarriage because miscarriage tends to occur when the embryo is not normal.
With IMSI, fertility experts seem to have more professional control on the process to making babies. Ogunkoya affirmed this noting, ?Because the sperm you select is better, the embryo that comes from it is likely to go on and become a baby that is because IMSI yields better clinical outcome because you are likely to have a normal pregnancy because the sperm you select is better than the one that may have gone into the egg by itself.?
He said further: ?We want to increase the success of IVF and we know that if the embryo that is formed is not normal, pregnancy will not occur and we know that if the sperm that is going into the egg is not normal, the embryo will be abnormal. So, if we don?t have a way of selecting a good sperm to have a good embryo, then it is highly likely that the pregnancy may not be successful. So, it is a clinical maneuvering geared towards a better outcome in terms of pregnancy rate; it is not dependent on me as a professional. It is a procedure, which has been on ground already and just for me to carry it out. It is different from when I am using my own acumen or experience. This is an international procedure that has been imbibed and trained for and there is special equipment for it.?
He said the next latest technology in ensuring IVF?s success is the use of lasser assisted hatching, in which case the surroundings of the egg is weakened to make it easier for the sperm to enter in those people whose eggs do not allow sperm in easily.
He also mentioned hysteroscopy, a process which allows experts to look into the womb to verify if the womb is in a good shape to receive an embryo. ?We realize that when a couple come for help, they have good eggs and sperm and when we form embryo, we are going to put it in the womb but then we don?t know what happens in the womb after we have put the embryo back there and to be able to find out the nature of the womb where we are going to put the embryo, we make use of the hysteroscopy.?
He informed that Hope Valley is currently working on what he termed, Pre-natal Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which would be put in place very soon.
?PDG is used for the management of couples who are at risk of having sickle cell children. Before now, we use to send our patients abroad for that. For instance people with sickle cell and couple who are SS and AS, who have chances of having SS babies. If they want to make healthy babies, they can do IVF by going through the PGD procedure. How it works is that during IVF, we remove each embryo they have formed and test them to see which is SS, AS and AA and transfer the AS or AA to the woman?s womb,? he explained the process further.