IVF practitioners to formulate policy for practice regulation
Experts have linked the recent decline in male sperm count to the food chain, which has negatively affected fertility and the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in child bearing.
To them, exposure to certain chemicals contained in the food production, environmental pollution, pesticides, fossil fuels, acidic rain in agricultural produce and processed food consumed by humans have resulted to the fallen sperm count, which has affected the quality of sperm, leading to a global threat to health, fertility and the ART.
Speaking at the Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health (AFRH) group discussion on Ethics in ART, at the weekend, the President, Dr Faye Iketubosin, a consultant obstetrician gynaecologist, said, “The average sperm count in men has dropped and as such the World Health Organization (WHO) reversed on what is now the normal sperm count from 20 million to 15 million, which is because of the food chain – we eat a lot of processed food in which chemicals are used for their production.
It has gotten to the food chain and is negatively affecting fertility in male.”
According to him it has affected the egg and gamete donation used in the In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) practice to enable infertile couple have children.
Corroborating Faye, one of the panelists, Dr Nkechi Asogwa, the President of Doctors Health Initiative, said with the low sperm count in men, the ART will be affected as the men who donate their eggs fall into health risk. She said there should be an agriculture policy, which should regulate the food chain as its effect could lead to disaster if not prevented, adding that the country should emulate other countries, which have gone back to organic farming.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, AFRH Ethic Committee, and the Managing Director, Bridge Clinic, Dr Richard Ajayi said, with the increase in ART in Nigeria, there was need to formulate policies to regulate the practice in the country.
Ajayi, however, stressed that “In vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF) clinics” are proliferating across the country in efforts to address infertility in couples, as the practitioners are making concerted efforts to address the gap in order to protect patients’ rights and assure quality and standards.
“Assisted Reproduction Technology by its very nature raises ethical issues that is open to individual interpretation and needs to be addressed such that regulations to guide the practice are codified and adopted across board by all practitioners,” he added.