Fertility: Towards acknowledging the role of science

By Lawrence Wakdet

I’ve been turning the searchlight on fertility related issues lately but there seems to be no end in sight to this topic. Real life stories abound that leave your jaw dropping and your mouth agape.

Let’s paint a vivid picture we’re all too familiar with. A couple has been married for several years, 5 to 10 to 20. They’re not blessed with child. Naturally, they run from pillar to post, visiting one prayer house or the other. For those who can afford it, they visit the fertility centres, undergo rigorous and cut-throat investigations before landing a baby. And then, typical of Nigeria, drums are rolled out and majestic Thanksgiving ceremonies, backed up by heart-rending testimonies, become the norm. As bystanders or family members, we are happy for them. I agree every good or perfect gift comes from God, with whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning.

These miracle baby stories get unprecedented publicity. The social media is awash with the stories. Woman delivers triplets after 10 years of marriage. 50 year old woman delivers twins. Quadruplets. Quintuplets. Octuplets. And endless.

My point remains that science or medine has come to man’s aid. Assisted Reproductive Technologies are plenty every where. Whether I like it or not, there are sperm Banks everywhere. Serena Williams once said with sperm Banks, she doesn’t need a man to become a mother. Surrogate mothers abound. Pay a typical 20-25 year old lady 2 million naira and see if she’d not agree to carry a pregnancy for the highest bidder. And in case you think this practice is an alien one, have a rethink. It is right here at our doorsteps.

And the reproductive techniques have one common feature. Multiple pregnancies. Twins. Triplets. Quadruplets. And so on.

But what makes me raise my eyebrow is when some beneficiaries of these medical breakthroughs give sweet testimonies in church and never utter a word about the health intervention that gave them the babies. Now you’ve prayed. You’ve fasted. No babies. You went to spritual houses or patronised prophets and prophetesses to no avail.

Now you finally visit a fertility centre. They drain you of your hard-earned money, which you’re ready to part with in exchange for a child anyway. Good deal. They give you clomid or use some hormonal injections on you. And voila. You take in.

Maybe it required an invitro fertilization, IVF where your husband’s sperm and your eggs are fertilized in a tube before introducing it into your womb.

Perhaps your womb has scars from previous invasive surgical procedures. You can’t carry the baby to term You opt to use a.surrogate mother to carry the pregnancy for you. All’s well that ends well. You retrieve your baby at 9 months. I have no problem with that. The end justifies the means. Or does it?

All I am asking of you is for some pinch of transparency. Hi medical science its due credit. After all, Jesus says give to Caesar what belongs to him, and to God what belongs to him.

Michael Jackson told us his last child was through surrogacy. Kim Kirdashian and Kanye West did the same and they’re expecting a baby or two soon. While giving God a wiper for the miracle baby, don’t forget to at least acknowledge the doctors and nurses and drugs that did the magic. Is it too much to ask? I rest my case.

Disclaimer!

This write-up merely seeks to make beneficiaries of any medical intervention make appropriate acknowledgments, not necessarily an endorsement of assisted reproductive technologies.

Lawrence Wakdet is a Public Health specialist and Health Communicator, he wrote in from Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria. You can reach him on [email protected].com

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