Not unexpectedly, most people turn out to be good parents, but when you become a father or mother after years of struggling with infertility, you’re more than likely to become a great parent.
It is also known fact that children conceived after IVF are much cherished and loved despite their struggle with infertility.
This much holds true for a number of men and women challenged by infertility before becoming parents. One of such is Mrs. Folasade Akinode, a retired director of pharmacy, who got pregnant for the first time after 18 years of marriage and became a mother of triplets at 57.
Folasade, who is currently the oldest woman to conceive after IVF at Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos, gave insight into her infertility story during the last Nordica Bon Bon family fiesta at Fun Factory, Victoria Island, Lagos—an annual get together of families whose children were conceived at Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos.
After battling the challenge of infertility for years, Folasade recounted how she conceived at 56 and at 57 delivered triplets, two girls and one boy. Tragically, the male child was lost soon after birth, but the girls—Mojereigbagbo Esther and Eriigbagbo Mary are doing excellently.
Folasade who described the joy of being a mother as “indescribable” remarked: “Maybe I would have died. I can’t describe the joy. “I opted for IVF because I didn’t have children earlier. It was when I reached menopause that I decided to do it. I was married 18 years. I had triplets but lost one. I am happy I won’t die without children.
“IVF worked for me. It was not expensive for me, I was working then, I was even training children. I spent over N1million.It is real. My children will be seven years this year.”
Folasade’s story is one of the growing cases of postmenopausal pregnancy, that is, women that become mothers after menopause. But women that are premenopausal benefit even more from IVF and other Assisted Reproduction Techniques.
According to Lara Evborokhai, an accountant, who waited 16 years to have her baby, conceiving through IVF is worth the cost.
Lara argued that the idea of children conceived through IVF and other ART procedures, coming together to associate with each other, interact, have fun and create awareness helps give hope and demystify perceptions about IVF babies not being normal babies.
“I am a member of FAAI and my husband is the President of the support group. From Nordica I have a daughter, her name is Sarah. I waited 16 years before Sarah came, and she will be 4 in July. I’m so proud I didn’t sit at home thinking there is a witch in my village haunting me.”
Admitting that the IVF procedure could be expensive, Lara said couples that work towards it usually find it achievable and affordable.
“For those of us who are still breathing, don’t fold your hands and sit back there thinking there is a witch in your village blocking your womb and preventing you from conceiving. Get up and seek medical advice.
“IVF babies are normal babies,” she asserted. “While it is not everybody who necessarily needs IVF but if your doctor says you need IVF, please go for it. Save the money, it is achievable. I did it.”
According to Oladipo, also parent of IVF baby: “I have one boy, Emmanuel, after 19 years of fruitless marriage, at that time my wife was close to 50 before we had him. Actually if you see him he looks like me. We are like identical brothers. By July he will be nine.
“Many people run from IVF, thinking that IVF children are not normal but we are here to say that IVF babies are normal babies, very intelligent with high IQ. As parents we are spreading the gospel for people should do IVF if they have challenges with fertility.”
Another baby, Emmanuel Soetan, was conceived through IVF after his parents had been married 11 years and his mother had almost attained age of 50. In the views of his father, Ebenezer, there are many families either unaware of IVF or cannot afford it.
“They can draw from our experience. We’ve been there and have successful stories to tell through the thick and thin. “IVF babies are intelligent and normal.”
Victoria Olayemi a.k.a. Mother of Five-Alive, who gave birth to the first set of quintuplets at Nordica (the Shofunlayos quintuplets) in 2011, is also on the long list of mothers of Nordica’s IVF children. The Bon Bon Fiesta at Fun Factory, Victoria Island, Lagos, is put together in celebration of Children’s Day by the Fertility Awareness and Alliance Initiative, FAAI, a support group to Nordica, with the aim of creating awareness among married couples that are looking for the fruit of the womb in order to “complete” their families.
Medical Director Nordica fertility centre, Lagos, Abuja and Asaba, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, said age has never been a barrier to parenthood, “but the fact that there is technology doesn’t mean we use it anyhow, and so what we try to do is to limit the age at which you can have IVF.
“A 60-year old can have it, but we try not to do that in Nordica for so many obvious reasons because the children are going to grow up in future. A 60-year-old can have children as long as there is a uterus and the woman is healthy. But due to cultural reasons of raising children, we try not carry out procedures for 70-year-olds.
“For a 70-year old looking after a child would be really very tough that’s why we try to put a limit to it. The truth is that the oldest mother in the world is 70, so it is possible once you are healthy. Ajayi described the greatest challenge to ART in the country as the foreign exchange.
“We are heavily dependent on the foreign exchange. Everything is imported; if you want to do IVF it is imported and therefore costs money. There is a limit to which you can increase your prices. He advised that in order to make IVF more accessible to the people, government must enforce regulation.
“What government can do to help is to really see that we don’t have quacks so that people that are going to pay out of pocket will get value for money.
“We have an association trying to do that but you know that there is no association that has the ability to police so even if we say we you are not doing it right if there is no power to police and say we need to shut you down, then people will continue to go there and some people who don’t know much about IVF look at cost, that’s not how to go about IVF because there are different things involved. It depends on what the problem is and that’s what’s going to determine the treatment and probably the technology that will be applied to you.
“The first thing is that our people need to know more about IVF just like every other part of the cost. They need to be more conscious about how things work and then also confront some of these people who are doing some funny things.
“In Nordica we complete families and have a worthy alliance with FAAI. They decided we celebrate the children and they agreed to sponsor it, that’s what this is about, celebrating the lives of our children because to them belong the future of Nigeria and the world, so they are worthy of celebration and since there is a day dedicated to celebrating children, we just thought it would be nice that we join the world to celebrate our children.”