The duo of professors Oladapo Ashiru and Osato Giwa-Osagie have faulted a claim attributing the delivery of Nigeria’s first in vitro fertilisation baby to Dr. Ibrahim Wada.
The revered professors said the story of Nigeria’s first IVF baby started in 1986 when a young couple, Mr. Pius Oni and his wife, Stella, met the then Director of Human In-Vitro Fertilisation programme at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Osato Giwa-Osagie.
Internet sources revealed that Stella, then 34, had lost her fallopian tubes to bilateral ectopic pregnancies in 1981, while living in England; and had had tubal surgery in 1982.
She also underwent hysterosalpingogram (an X-ray test that is often done for women who are having a hard time becoming pregnant) in 1982, which showed that she had bilateral blocked tubes.
Before meeting Giwa-Osagie, Stella had undergone two IVF treatments at separate times in Bourn Hall Clinic and also at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester.
Ashiru said when she came to LUTH, Stella underwent baseline pre-IVR evaluation, and was accepted for IVF treatment in LUTH.
He said, “Stella was registered in the IVF clinic on March 30, 1988, and she underwent IVF treatment between May and June 1988.
“We placed her on Clomiphene Pergonal injection to stimulate her ovaries and later on Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin. A Chief Technologist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology laboratories, Mr. Ayo Sanyaolu, monitored her follicular development, using serial hormone assays.
“Prof. Giwa-Osagie did the serial cervical mucus assessment, while I evaluated her husband’s semen.
“Stella was admitted to Ward B2 at LUTH on June 3, 1988, and on the 6th, eggs were retrieved from her and fertilised, using her husband’s semen. On June 9, three embryos were transferred into her uterus, and she was placed on Progesterone supplements by intramuscular injection and orally. She was discharged on June 14.
“Her pregnancy was confirmed in July 1988 through the urine pregnancy test. However, fearing a possible stigmatisation because of the myths surrounding IVF then, she delivered her baby abroad on March 17, 1989; and she brought him to LUTH on March 26, 1989 to show the family’s appreciation to LUTH, Ashiru and Giwa-Osagie. The boy weighed 2.5kg at birth and was named Olushina Eghosa Oluwaremilekun.”
Ashiru said Oluwaremilekun’s birth was the proof of his and Giwa-Osagie’s expertise in pioneering the research into IVF treatment in Black Africa.
In a telephone conversation with our reporter, however, Ibrahim Wada said he had no intention to “overshadow anyone;” and that it was the media that decided the headlines they wanted.
Acknowledging Ashiru and Giwa-Osagie, the physician said the two professors had done much pioneering works on IVF in the 80s, long before he and his team came into the scene.
Wada added, “The difference here is that there was a third party verification of our feat, as the then Minister of Science and Technology, Gen. Sam Momah, inaugurated a three-man committee comprising professors Salako, Dada and Otubu, to investigate our claims.
“The committee visited our laboratory at the Nisa Premier Hospital, then in Gwagwalada, and reported its findings to the minister, who, in turn, reported to the Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha.
“It was the first IVF delivery in Nigeria but definitely not the first IVF pregnancy conceived in Nigeria.”
BY SOLAADE AYO-ADERELE
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