IVF Can be Improved through Genetic Testing, Says Nordica MD

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Abayomi Ajayi
Dr. Abayomi Ajayi

.As Ali Baba promises to sponsor ten patients for IVF

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Photo Caption: Dr. Ajayi

Martins Ifijeh
Pre Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS), a technology that helps screen against diseases in the embryo that may manifest later in life, will greatly help improve the outcome of fertility treatment in Nigeria, the Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, has said.

He said with PGS, one can know whether the embryo contains genes that could be predisposed to albinism, congenital blindness, deafness, down syndrome, sickle cell, among others, adding that non communicable diseases like diabetes, cancers and obesity can also be detected from the screening.

Stating this during a press conference in Lagos recently, the fertility expert said Nordica has moved into this phase to be able to help Nigerian couples achieve a much more desired results, adding that technology has made it possible to identify embryos that are much more healthy, while eliminating the ones that predisposes to health challenges.

“Apart from the ones that have diseases, there are also some that cannot become babies. So you remove these categories, and then you are left with viable and healthy ones that can become babies. Only the healthy ones would then be used to achieve the maximum result.

“With the new technology, we can tell you before a child is born what disease he or she is prone to later in life, so that, that can also help that child in making lifestyle choices. Angelina Jolie, the Hollywood actor is a very good example, because her genetic profile was already known, she didn’t wait to generate any cancer before she prevented it through the removal of her breast, because genetic screening had already shown that she was carrying the genes.

“We can tell whether someone has predisposition to diabetes and other non communicable disease. But the thing is, the fact that you are prone to diabetes doesn’t mean you will have it if you engage in lifestyle changes that minimises the risks,” he said.

According to him, technology has now also made it possible to see all 23 chromosomes in an embryo, making it easier to screen. “We all have 23 pairs of chromosomes in a nucleus and the last pair is the sex chromosome. One of the things you also get from the technology is the fact that we can also tell the gender of the embryo.

‘’Few years ago, we could only see about five chromosomes, but now with technology we can see all 23. So apart from gender, we can see all the diseases the embryo may be disposed to. If you are screening, you are looking at the number of chromosomes and their arrangement. We have noticed that the greatest reason why IVF fail is that there are problems in the arrangement of the chromosomes,” Ajayi added.

He said with technology, it was now well known that about 70 to 80 per cent of embryos produced in the laboratory can never become babies because of this problem, adding that such problems increase with age of the woman.

He therefore emphasised that couples should present early for treatment as better results could be achieved with younger age. “That is one of the reasons we say older women do worse with IVF generally,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Nigerian veteran stand-up comedian, Atunyota Akporobomerere, popularly known as Ali Baba has promised to sponsor the treatment of ten couples for Invitro fertilisation (IVF) at Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos.

Stating this after watching and sharing a video of a patient of Nordica Fertility Clinic who was excited after being told she was pregnant, he said he would take care of the cost of treatment of the three lucky couples, so that they would also experience the joy of being fertile as was the case with the woman in the said video, adding that he hoped they finally give birth before his next January 1st concert.

The video, which was shared on the Facebook wall of the fertility clinic, and has been viewed over 25,000 times showed an excited woman after being told that her pregnancy test showed positive.

According to Ajayi, the ten couples for the treatment will be gotten after screening some numbers of patients, such that the ones with the highest possibility of achieving favourable results will be selected.

“We are not just about numbers. We will do a series of tests to ascertain the ones with high possibility of responding to the treatment, and the best ten will be selected from there,” he added.