Surrogacy, Infertility & Birth Options in Nigeria
Live on Morning Crossfire as usual, the duo of Wemimo Adewuni and Sheriff Quadri treats audience to the topic of surrogacy, infertility, and other birth options. Wemimo starts the show by explaining a few pointers on what surrogacy means, saying that a “surrogate motherhood in Nigeria can be said to be a situation in which a third-party female is commissioned to carry a baby for another couple, delivers the baby and hands the child over to the commissioning parents. When pregnancy is as a result of in vitro fertilization in a woman and she has no genetic contribution to the fetus, it is regarded as gestational surrogacy.
“In Nigeria, there are a whole lot of issues surrounding infertility. There are people who want to have babies but are not able to. So, in Nigeria, surrogacy is beginning to look like an attraction. There are now options for that on Instagram as we see young people who sign up just to carry babies for couples who can’t have babies on their own. They get paid for the service. Infertility has given rise to more and more couples taking to the option of surrogacy. But what really causes infertility?”
Dr. Ify clarifies the question by mentioning dictionary definition of infertility. She says it’s a disability or disorder of the reproductive systems, characterized by the inability of the couple to achieve pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected regular sexual intercourse. For women who are 35 years and above, it is inability to achieve clinical pregnancy after six months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
The effect is more on women because age affects them more than it does men. However, men too can have fertility issues. What about the underlying causes of infertility? Generally, Dr. Ify says that there are male causes and there are female causes too.
For the male, issues with the sperm, such as low sperm count, shape, any abnormality in semen analysis, such as motility factors also matters. Any issues with the hypothalamic pituitary hypothalamic pituitary axis, such as tumor, cancer, or any other abnormalities can cause infertility. Other causes can be attached to localized conditions in the testes. Excessive use of alcohol, smoking, cocaine, marijuana, obesity, and others can also cause infertility in men.
For the women, the same thing also applies. Obesity, other lifestyle patterns, exposure to chemotherapy, there could also be issues with the ovaries, such as premature ovarian failure. Any form of blockage in the fallopian tubes whether due to infections, can cause infertility. In the uterus, there may issues such as uterine fibroid, and many other things can cause infertility in women. Then, there are the unexplained factors such as when the man and woman appears to be okay but have no means of having a baby still.
It has been proved over a few years that the fertility rates of women in Nigeria keeps dropping. Tolu says she noticed it too but that the situation is not really like the fertility rates in Nigerian women is truly dropping. She said that educated couples are engaging in family planning procedures. However, according to her, people in the rural areas believe that the more children they have, the richer they are. She still thinks that not enough people are actually making the good choice of limiting the number of babies they have yet.
For his part, Achike Chude says there’s a way to design babies. On the other hand, he says, “One thing I realize is that we can tamper with nature and when we are talking about birth options, the problem that Europe has today is that the fertility ratio has become a problem. However, they know that the fertility ratio should be higher. So, some of these countries have gotten to a level where the civilization is under threat. In Spain, not long ago, they appointed a minister of marriage. At one point, the death rate was higher than the birth rate. That tells you that the society is in decline. In China, the one-child policy was besieged by some factors that had to do with nature and that’s why when you tamper with nature too much, there will be problem. Also, look at the issue of genetic engineering which is meant for plants and crops, now people are arguing about the safety of these plants or crops for human consumption.
There are also other questions like: Can we grow babies outside a woman’s womb? Can a couple pick the sex of the baby they want to have?
Modern technology is making a whole lot possible when it comes reproductive possibilities in humans. Click Here and follow the conversation to learn more about surrogacy, infertility and other birth options. You can also make meaningful comments on our social media pages.
(1) Dr. Ify Atuchukwu - Medical Art Center Lagos
(2) Achike Chude - Policy and Development Expert
(3) Tolu Adeleke - The Midwife Healthcare Solutions
Written by Jude Chukwuemeka