The first IVF centre in Nigeria, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, has re-opened its Assisted Reproductive Clinic; 27 years after it delivered the first test-tube baby in West and East Africa.
The recently commissioned, LUTH Assisted Fertility Clinic will provide a cheaper alternative to IVF in the private sector without compromising quality and WHO standards.
One of the pioneers and coordinator of the clinic,Prof Osato Giwa-Osagie said, restarting of IVF services at LUTH took this long because management was putting in place an ideal structure. This includes a sterile space for the laboratory and theatre; tiling of the laboratory and theatre; design of a suitable fee structure; acquisition of modern equipment; a dedicated workforce and recruitment of patients.
The hospital also aims at producing not less than 200 babies through IVF per annum, he added.
Professor Giwa-Osagie revealed that the initial IVF programme at LUTH treated 20 patients between 1984 and 1994. “But we could not sustain it because of lack of institutional and government support. Today, the IVF services in Nigeria are largely provided by private hospitals and a few government hospitals. But the LUTH IVF clinic will always be unique because it was the first in West, East and Central Africa. Only Egypt and South Africa were the two African countries that had it before Nigeria in IVF history,” Giwa-Osagie said.
During the commissioning of the clinic, Prof Oladapo Ashiru, President African Fertility Society, pledged support for the clinic saying that he will help the Centre achieve the quality control it needs. “World Health Organisation (WHO) standard will be brought back here. But the Department of Anatomy must start a course in clinical embryology so that (future) embryologists will be trained, because the success of IVF starts in the laboratory,” he said.
LUTH’s Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof. Chris Bode, said hospital’s management has contributed to history by bringing back IVF at an affordable rate. “The clinic will make IVF service affordable, accessible and available, as this is a foremost institution of excellence and we have the experts here that get things done,” he said.
The newly opened clinic will be an addition to the 45 IVF centres already in the country.