Nigeria has recorded the first successful birth of a baby conceived from frozen egg of a 44 year-old woman, who had suffered infertility for eight years, making it the first in the country and West Africa. The birth and conception of the baby, named Tiwatope, which is the 5001st in the world, was carried out by Nigerian fertility specialists at The Bridge Clinic, a Lagos-based fertility treatment centre, where the mother had her eggs frozen using the vitrification (flash-freezing) process. The birth of the baby on February 16, 2016, effectively puts Nigeria on the global map as regards the practice of oocyte (egg) freezing or cryopreservation, a new offering in the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process. Prior to the birth of Tiwatope, the new practice seemed to be the exclusive preserve of the developed world of Europe and North America.

1st Test Tube Baby in Black Africa is now 34 years old
On March 17, 1989 history was made at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital when the first test tube Baby in Black Africa (comprising of West, East and Central Africa), conceived through the delicate In-Vitro Fertilisation and Embryo Transfer (IVF-ET) method was born. The bouncing baby boy named, Olushina, Eghosa, Oluwaremilekun, is nature’s gift to the family of Mr & Mrs Pius Oni and the crowning glory of five years of painstaking research endeavours of Professors Osato Giwa-Osagie, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist and Oladapo Ashiru, an Endocrinologist, both of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH Idiaraba, Surulere, Lagos.The lad then, thus, became the First TestTube Baby in East, West and Central Africa. Read more at:




IVF treatment during promotions while still not cheap, is more affordable and within the reach of more people who otherwise would have been out rightly denied the IVF option because of its normally high cost that today now typically runs into millions - a treatment option that must necessarily be denied to many due to little or no government intervention/assistance. Young promo participants are encouraged to use their own eggs as it is believed that age is on their side and that they usually require less medication for stimulation. Also, the cost of paying egg donors is shared or significantly reduced when more than one recipient shares the eggs produced by a single donor.

For promos, more than the usual number of egg donors are recruited and screened by offering clinics for their prospective registrants. This means that there is no delay or waiting for the start of treatment. Donors are usually 100% anonymous to the recipients so there is no time spent choosing or matching donor to recipient. The use of the birth control pill and batching makes easier the cycle synchronization of several patients at the same time.

 When patients have accepted the possibility that none of their own eggs may be retrievable or that the fertilization of their own eggs may fail and no embryos generated, they may be offered, usually at no additional cost when this happens, the emergency option of inseminating some spare eggs from the pool of donors already cycling for the promo. This is a benefit that is usually not available during non-promo periods where such a cycle normally ends in complete cancellation as there are no embryos to transfer.

Thus promos can often facilitate a seamless transition from an Own Egg ivf cycle to a Donor Egg cycle even at the very last minute;
result of donor/recipient mismatch
It should however be borne in mind that donor/recipient matching of physical characteristics is less thorough in this situation and may come with  surprises though some consenting couples do not mind as long as a pregnancy is achieved through a healthy egg donor (after all, often, where a child has been adopted, its family tree/physical features pale into insignificance, much less one carried in pregnancy. Only love counts)!
A number of patients are able to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by promos/price slashes to undergo more than one treatment cycle. This is important as success for some, only comes after multiple tries as against the not too many lucky few that take home babies on their very first attempts. Such patients having been able to muster one way or the other enough funds again, wait for the promos of the clinics that do them on a regular basis to try again, and happily for some of them, their persistence pays off in the end!


Promo patients are not usually offered embryo freezing services(an added cost that hikes up the normal price)which means that in the event of failure, patients that want to try again have to go through the whole treatment process all over again, rather than  having a Frozen Embryo Transfer later.
Lack of the freezing option is also a drawback where going ahead with a Fresh Embryo Transfer may not be advisable at the scheduled time. For instance where at scheduled transfer time, the patient’s endometrium is not at optimum thickness, there is the tendency to still go ahead, instead of cancelling the cycle and freezing the embryos for later transfer in a better prepared uterus; the rationale always being that the patient may be 'lucky with a thin endometrium as a few others have been.' 
In the event of failure, such patients are merely advised to try again.

Promos are ideal for patients whose cause/s of infertility are quite straightforward or whose only or main cause of infertility have for instance been absent tubes that have been preventing sperm and egg from meeting, so that once an embryo transfer is done for such, they are successful.

However, where the cause(s) of their infertility are more complex(e.g. auto immune issues), the promo may not address the needs of such patients as they may require much more time and detailed investigations than the promos may allow or that they can afford. Some other patients may also before cycling require quite extensive fibroid surgery for a better treatment outcome but since promos are usually only for fixed periods, such patients may not be able to take advantage of them as they need time to heal before a treatment cycle.

The tendency of the promo clinic to use basic 'one size fits all' protocols or practically the same treatment protocols for most of its participating patients rather than the often more expensive individual 'tailoring' with its adjuvant treatment options (e.g. IVIG, Intralipids, Assisted Hatching, etc.)does not thus ultimately pay the special needs patient.

Some promo offering clinics also automatically require and often subtly pressurise  patients above a certain age to use donor eggs, rather than attempt to stimulate them for an Own Egg cycle.

A number of promo participating patients may require time and patience to improve their egg and sperm quality or require sperm extraction (added costs)  before cycle end but this may be considered an impractical luxury within the promo situation and they may thus find themselves constrained by lack of means and awareness, to use donors where they may have otherwise been able to use their own eggs/sperm at more expensive non promo times or clinics.

As a result of the large number of patients that promos usually attract, there is necessarily a reduction in the time the treating doctors have for each patient. This can result in feelings of frustration and neglect due to unanswered questions and unaddressed fears.  Unfortunately while treatment costs may have been heavily subsidized or reduced by these clinics, paying for them is still a huge sacrifice and burden for a lot of struggling patients many of whom go into debt just to participate in the promos; they expect commensurate special treatment and doctor time which they don’t get as their numbers are so many.
These feelings are compounded where the treatment cycle fails and there is little or no follow up of the patient by the clinic thus the promo patient usually gets less psychological support and counseling.

Having saved up for a long time, sold property or borrowed from family, friends, money lenders, etc., to pay for the treatment cycle even at the clinic’s subsidized rate, many an indigent couple can only afford this one opportunity to undergo the process because of the time and effort to gather money for the single attempt. They pin all their years of waiting and hope on having a successful treatment outcome and so it is unspeakably devastating on all fronts if the promo cycle fails, more so as the clinic counsellors cannot cope with the number of patients that need emotional support and follow-up; it is thus the very painful end of the fertility road for them, both emotionally and financially. Repeating the IVF process is, barring a miraculous bailout, completely out of the question because they simply cannot afford it again, despite the price discount; many couples become resigned as it was the fertility treatment option of very last resort and some part ways.

Thus, while there are patients who do get results from promo/budget IVF treatment, the extra services/adjuncts and attention that go with the more expensive clinics may make the difference between success and failure for special needs patients. For some others, being able to afford repeat tries that the lower promo pricing facilitates, is what may finally tip the baby scales in their favour.

In all, just as each of the various fertility clinics have their strengths and weaknesses, taking up promo offers have both pros and cons which should be thoroughly considered by prospective patients.

At the end of the day, wherever its done, the particular IVF cycle that will end in successful implantation and a take-home baby cannot always be predicted but the beauty of IVF is that it gives many 'hopelessly' infertile couples a realistic chance; 'Lady Luck' will always smile on whomsoever she pleases but the informed and the prepared will always be at an advantage. 
Given the huge emotional and financial investment IVF requires, adequate information on all its aspects and any cost saving opportunities available, cannot be over-emphasized.


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