Saturday, May 7, 2011

Low Cost IVF in Nigeria


Dr. Abayomi – Feb 2010

We have a scheme for people who cannot afford IVF. We do eggs sharing for the younger ones. Through the egg-sharing scheme, if you are below 34 and everything is alright, it is possible for you to do IVF paying only N100, 000, but you share your eggs with other people. That way, we can bring it down for people who are younger.

Dr. Abayomi Ajayi of Nordica Lagos (28th Dec, 2010)

We have a foundation that helps people who cannot pay for IVF, that you must agree with me that it is a drop in the ocean. Because it cannot solve the whole problem of those seeking to do IVF. Probably we do eight or ten circles per year. You also want to remain afloat. So, there is a foundation that handles this, fertility treatment for such group. And like every other thing, we are trying to look for people who can partner with us to be able to give more people opportunity to be able to have access to this treatment.

Dr. Tunde Okewale of St Ives Clinic(Dec.2010 inte rview):

‘He (Okewale) said that 50 women who had lost hope of having their babies due to lack of finances, had conceived through the IVF cost subsidy done by the hospital‘s foundation in October. He added that it would continue to offer cost effective IVF treatments to fertility-challenged couples.’


Dr. Ajayi of Bridge Clinic (2010 interview):

We have a Foundation called Aspire. It has two objectives. One is to provide information about our LIHN initiative (Let It Happen Naturally). It is an intervention for infertility. There are posters circulating around. The second initiative showcases the free packages The Bridge Clinic offers yearly. It goes through a process of helping people and if it shows that someone is eligible, they obtain assistance. We get their tests done at PathCare which is supporting for free, and we have a pharmacy that supplies their drugs for free. When you put all these together, we can provide access. We can do a few cycles every month through this programme. The potential beneficiaries present themselves at our Centre in Oduduwa Crescent, GRA, Ikeja. They complete a questionnaire and show evidence of payment. We are also talking to the universities to provide them with IVF support. This is called the low cost IVF initiative where we manage an IVF Centre but provide services at a heavily subsidised cost. That subsidy is enjoyed by the patient. So the University can provide the service at an affordable cost to those who need fertility treatment.

Dr. Ibrahim Wada of Nisa Premier Hospital (2010 interview)

Tell me about IVF and the cost, is there hope for the common man

Definitely, that is why I came back to Nigeria. If you remember when MTN started only Governors, Senators and the wealthy could afford it, but today drivers, cook, market women , fisher men, cattle-rearers own one. So when technology is new, it can be expensive, but given time and simplification more people will benefit.

Its already happening in the field of IVF, because ,by setting up an IVF Program at the National Hospital I made a clear statement, I wanted a cheaper system that people could afford, cheaper than what they would get at the private hospitals. And I still pride myself that I am the only private hospital in the country that has never turned back a woman seeking IVF Treatment on account of money we, have an account for all class in my hospital, Nisa Premier, Specialist Jabi, Abuja.

I am still not comfortable with cost of IVF in the National Hospital because it is still way much than most people can afford. Because of this I began to ask myself what I could do to help the common man out there to enjoy the benefits of IVF and I found out that the only way was through charity. Charity, as in you and I chipping in to help the poor and maybe I’ll be lucky to have the first charity funded IVF Unit in this country.

This is coming up at the Garki Hospital Abuja, Nigeria. People have already been recruited for it and we are about to set off by 2010. With such a unit, people would pay very little, or none at all on the IVF treatment depending on what they can afford. Of course, such a thing is not for the whole country so it will be for the selected few who truly can’t afford IVF. So we are thinking continuously on how to make it more affordable. I can hint you that because it is charitable and the man behind it is sincere in what he is doing, companies abroad are offering discounts on their products for this vision.

Can you now see that IVF Vision is not for me alone but all Nigerians, this vision is for the poor people of this land, the people whose names he may never know, but because of this vision, a ray of hope is raised in the knowledge that though they are childless and poor, someone is out there worrying about how to bring an end to their plight of childlessness.

I am hoping that in the light of all charity, when the prophet takes off and more and more Nigerians need the help of IVF Treatments, that Philanthropists and businesses will come to our aid because surely this is more than one man can single handedly shoulder. The name of the charity is Baby Hannatu Foundation…

Dr. Tunde Okewale of St Ives Clinic: (2009 interview)

Is IVF really expensive and out of the reach of many couples?
Unfortunately, this is true not only in Nigeria but worldwide because priorities of couples also differ. The cost of setting up a standard IVF lab and the disposables and consumables are high. The cost of running a lab is even higher in Nigeria where electricity is a problem. A lab needs 24-hour power supply. So, apart from generators, labs in Nigeria invest in alternative power supply such as solar, inverters and ups, etc. We are constantly looking for a way to make the cost more affordable for couples. We are presently running a shared risk scheme for some patients that fulfill our requirement. The scheme is ‘pay us only after getting pregnant.’

Dr. Bobo Kayode of Omni Medical Centre (2008 interview)

Cost implication
At our own clinic, we have pioneered what we call the low-cost IVF in Nigeria. It is a course of treatment whereby those who cannot afford the full course treatment are taken through the minimal drug stimulatory regime that would at least encourage their follicles to be developed and produce oocytes that would enable us to proceed with the treatment. The minimum cost of that procedure is about N280,000. I am happy to say that we’ve had pregnancies from low-cost IVF. The other day, a woman came in and she was taken through the minimal dosage required. I think the whole thing cost N320,000 and she has a baby boy. There are several others that we have put through that regime that have actually gone home smiling with their babies.

Now depending on the patient’s response to the drugs, she might have to go the full IVF treatment. That could run from about N650,000 to N750,000 per cycle. If we are going to do an ESCI cycle, we will be talking about N750,000 to N1 million depending on the patient’s response to the drugs and the entire procedure. However, not all patients require IVF or ESCI. Insemination costs between N20,000 and N60,000 depending on the cycles and number of procedures required per cycle.