Martins Ifijeh

Following the increasing cases of quackery and substandard practice in the treatment of infertility in Nigeria, the Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health (AFRH) is set to strengthen reproductive health interventions across the country.

This is even as one in every four couples in the country are said to be experiencing one form of infertility or the other.

To this end, the fertility association would hold its international conference with the theme: “AFRH 2018- New Frontiers in Assisted Reproductive Technology (A.R.T)” from September 26 to 28, 2018 in Lagos.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos recently, the President of the association, Dr Faye Iketubosun said there was need to address the prevalence of infertility in the country as many cultures have exposed childless couples to suffer discrimination, stigmatisation and social isolation

He stressed that children are so important that childlessness is seen as a taboo to the family and community at large, adding that these challenges have made A.R.T practice in Nigeria very relevant.

Iketubosun said to this group of people who suffer segregation from the society, any form of access to effective treatment is priority as it is their valid or legitimate right in a democratic society to have the right to life’s treatment, which according to him is only ‘amenable’ through A.R.T. Intervention.

Highlighting activities for the conference, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee for the conference, Dr Abayomi Ajayi said it would commence with a preconference workshop with interesting and engaging contemporary topics like: Embryo biopsy in ART, 3D Ultrasound in ART and early pregnancy among other topics that would address the issue of increasing fertility awareness in terms of education, accessibility to safe and quality services, cost effectiveness, and to guide against patients’ exploitations and complications.

He said the conference would bring together fertility physicians in Nigeria, Africa and abroad to promote research in reproductive health.

The Chairman lamented over quackery in the system, saying there are currently over 70 IVF centres across the country and more on their way to being established, noting that the existence of the association would further entrench the introduction of National ethical and regulatory guidelines to permeate the industry

He said the association is working closely with the Lagos state government to ensure strict compliance with the regulations.

“The rapidly unfolding development of A.R.T. practice calls for the coming together of all centres in Nigeria to check unethical practices and abuse within the industry. The largely unregulated industry still solicits further involvement from the government in achieving the minimum standard for establishing IVF clinics,” he said.