Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation fetes mothers-in-waiting
Childlessness in Africa is a major issue that no woman wants to experience, as the period of waiting comes with so much anxiety.And a foremost event planner, Ibidunni Ighodalo, through her Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation (IIF), has decided to help couples with the problem of conception to have children of their own with assistance from the foundation.
The IIF recently held its second outing where couples were selected by ballot to determine who would undergo the programme for the year. The theme for this year’s edition was Maa Gbe Temi Jo (‘I will carry my own and dance).
Couples began to arrive the venue as early as 8.00 a.m. and before noon, the Agip Hall of MUSON Centre was filled to capacity. The first event was for couples, selected from different states across the country, to meet with a team of medical experts to ascertain their medical viability through a series of assessments and pre-tests. The foundation then pays to a certified fertility clinic that is in strategic partnership with the foundation in the country for fertility services such as In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), Frozen Embryo Transfer and Intrauterine Insemination to be performed on them.
Ighodalo said: “Couples face a lot of challenges in their period of waiting to conceive. It is the reason the foundation is committed to going with them on this journey believing that together, their hopes will be turned to happiness. Last year was a good year and it will be better this year. Somebody got pregnant last year just by practising what was lectured here. Knowledge is power!”
Several fertility specialist doctors presented topics on infertility and how to overcome it, either by just doing what was said or by actually partaking in the assisted ways to do so.
A gyneacologist, Ogundiran Bridge from the Bridge Clinic, spoke on fibroids and pregnancies. He told participants that contrary to the saying that what you don’t know will not kill you, the opposite is the case: “Fibroids are common tumours in women worldwide, which is also the cause of infertility in many women. Though some may have symptoms and some may not, but based on study, six out of every 10 women may have it. While some people may get pregnant with fibroid, some women may not be able to conceive depending on where the tumours are located. So, eventually, not everyone may need IVF, as all you need to do is to remove the tumours and get pregnant.
“Nobody knows the cause of fibroid but based on study, obesity has been associated with it. When you are obese, the chances of conceiving are lean.”Bridge also cited diet consisting of plenty preservatives, hypertension, family history for not conceiving for long as causes of infertility. The symptoms, according to him, are abdominal pains, swelling and infertility.However, he said the best solution is to do a medical check up and remove any lump in the stomach if necessary to avoid complications.
Dr. Oluwatoyin Bode Abbas spoke on “How To Handle Infertility’ and the challenges that come with it. Abbas said infertility is a diagnosis like any type of sickness, but people here see it as a special kind of sickness that no one should be associated with.
According to her: “Stigma comes in different forms such as public stigma, where nobody invites you to their children’s birthday parties, neither will anyone wish you happy Mothers’ Day because you have no children. Self-imposed stigma where some women carry a long face and an unpleasant attitude just because they don’t have children.”
According to her, the government is not left out, as they structurally stigmatise couples by not having health insurance big enough to cover the cost of infertility treatment. She advised couples to find treatment and not to isolate themselves but speak out and focus on the positives, saying, “We need to start thinking differently because our parents in those days adopted children but today when it comes to putting pen to paper to adopt, it becomes a problem.”
Dr. Mini Iyizoba spoke on fertility health, saying: “The basic things people forget while waiting is they can freeze their eggs, times are changing and people are marrying at later years than before.
Former Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Muiz Banire, who also had a traumatising waiting period said: “My experience was just for three years, but it was like forever. People put a timetable by saying things like, we are coming to eat rice o, and they put immense pressure on couples without knowing.
“They will give you all sorts of advice, telling you places to go to for solution as well as if it is automatic and couples keep going up and down without a solution. But I think the way forward is belief in God; don’t stress yourselves and above all, trust God.”He, therefore, urged the men too to also accept the fact that they could be the ones with the problems instead of putting the automatic blame on the women, as it is always the case.
While Head of Department of Psychiatric Lagos State University (LASU), Dr. Rotimi Coker, spoke on the psychological effect the period of waiting has on a couple, Dr. Oluyemisi Adeyemi-Bero spoke on surrogacy.Pastor (Mrs.) Ruth Essien brought another dimension to the programme as she spoke about things that Africans will normally term as taboo. But above all, she advised couples to be peaceful in their marriage, as it contributes a lot to conception while waiting.