Following my hit post on options for AS genotype couples, I’ve got a lot of questions and comments demanding information, medical options, alternatives or strategies for AS couples in Nigeria to have Sickle-Cell-Free children. So I’ve been making inquiries at fertility clinics.
I haven’t got all the information I would like, however since I’ve been on about love and marriage this month, I’ll share what I’ve learnt so far about the process, duration and financial implications of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in Nigeria.
If you don’t already know, PGD refers to the process of screening embryos for genetic diseases prior to implantation. Grab your partner, get comfortable and watch this video to give you a clearer picture of what PGD really is.
The information I’m about to share is from inquiries at the Bridge Clinic. They were very responsive, and if you fill the inquiry form on their website, they will certainly call you.
The Good News
- PGD is now available in Nigeria, well somewhat. The Bridge Clinic partners with a foreign clinic/lab to achieve this.
- At this point I will suggest that if you haven’t watched the video I included above, please go back and do so. The culture is prepared here in Nigeria and sent to the foreign clinic for testing.
- NOTE: Your embryo is not sent out of the country, just the culture consisting of cells of what will make up the placenta.
- The results are sent back to the Bridge clinic to tell the medical professional which embryos are sickle cell free, ensuring that you have a healthy baby. This testing is 98% accurate, which means that if they say the embryo is sickle-cell-free, they are probably right.
- This partnership, I assume shelf cost of visas, flights, accommodation and other inconveniences associated with travelling abroad to get the procedure done.
- Finally, everything (Invitro fertilization and PGD) takes only about 6 – 8 weeks.
The Not-So-Good News
- I’m a firm believer in saving up for anything you want to acquire in life, nothing is out of reach. However, this procedure is not cheap and may take many a while to afford. Before any kind of medical assistance there’s Consultation fee. To see the doctor, talk about your circumstances and medical options costs N20,000. You’ll find a list of the Bridge Clinic fees here
- Next, the PGD is paid for in Euros and cost about €9,600, (a little over 4 million naira). IVF itself cost some where a little over 900,000 naira, excluding medication. This brings the total cost to over 5 million naira. To be safe on a project, I always factor in 30% extra for unforeseen contingencies. This brings our total budget to roughly 6.5million naira.
- After spending all this money, there are still risks you can’t mitigate. While women under 35 have higher chances of IVF success, an older woman’s success rate may be affected by fewer and lower quality eggs. IVF success rate for women less than 35 is 40%. This is low, but I will assume that some women taking the IVF route are doing so because of pre-existing fertility issues. (You, reading this probably do not. You are only here because of your genotype. I want to assume that your eggs, his sperm and your uterus are all fine so your chances might be higher. I’m not a doctor, it’s just probability and some common sense.)
- Next, the results of the diagnosis may come in and you have no sickle-cell-free embryo. It’s not common but it is a possibility. At this point, the money is gone and there’s no baby.
- Finally, PGD and IVF does not prevent complications that may arise during pregnancy or other unfortunate circumstances. So again, the money is gone and there may be no baby.
To be honest, I was excited beginning this post. I was hoping to slide in here with good news of great joy. However, the more research I did and inquiries I made, the more disappointed I ended up. PGD is so much effort put into something people otherwise get effortlessly.
Regardless, if you can afford this, and your love is worth it, it’s an option you might want to look into. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
If you choose the PGD route, I wish you the very best of luck and pray that God blesses your effort. If you are considering it or have done it, please leave a comment below. We can all learn from each other.
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical profession. This is based on personal research and inquiries. This post is not sponsored.