For many women battling infertility, as the late Mrs. Ibidun Ighodalo, the struggle to get pregnant naturally or through assisted conception is a long journey of pain, frustration and disappointment. Mrs. Racheal Anuforo, Ifiok Emmanuel and Christinah Otun share with our reporters, Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis, Lara Adejoro and Angela Onwuzoo, their experiences of the tortuous journey to having children of their own and their hope that one day, the seemingly impossible will become possible
The quest to conceive and have children in Nigeria where so much value is placed on parenthood is a big challenge, especially for women. Many women with fertility issues are going through tough times and a lot of frustration.
The case of Mrs. Racheal Anuforo, a 62-year-old housewife, exemplifies the heavy burden women trying to become mothers are carrying.
At 62 years, Mrs. Racheal Anuforo still keeps hope alive believing that, despite her age, she will one day conquer her childlessness, either by a miracle or through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
An in vitro fertilization, also known as IVF, is a process of fertilisation where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body, in vitro. The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman’s ovulatory process, removing an ovum or ova from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a laboratory.
For 22 years now, Anuforo says she has been hoping to have her babies.
Narrating her experience with PUNCH HealthWise, the sexagenarian said, “I got married in 1998. After one year of my marriage and pregnancy was not coming, I was worried.
“In 1999, my husband and I decided to visit a gynaecologist to find out what was wrong.
“After a medical examination, the doctor found out that my husband has a low sperm count.
“So, he gave him some drugs and assured us that everything would be fine.
“But my husband took the drugs for a while and stopped when I still did not get pregnant.
“I persuaded him to continue, but he refused. In 2003, I went back to the hospital. This time, the doctor said my fallopian tubes were blocked. I was so devastated to hear the report.
“He, however, said I could still have babies through IVF since my husband and I both have issues.
“When I told my husband about the IVF treatment, he was doubtful about its outcome.”
Anuforo continued, “In 2007, my sister who works in a hospital assured my husband that IVF is okay but he refused to listen.
“Determined to have my babies, I decided to give the treatment a try in 2014 but was told to bring a million naira for a single cycle, which I do not have. I am only a petty trader, but I am believing God for the money.”
She concluded, “Recently, I heard about a 68-year-old woman that delivered a set of twins through IVF. I believe my own will still come.”
The story of Mrs. Ifiok Emmanuel, also a 42-year-old and self-employed, is not much different from that of Mrs Anuforo. She has been married for 10 years without an issue.