Bridge Clinic births Nigeria’s first cryopreservation baby

A fertility centre, the Bridge Clinic, Lagos, has recorded the first live birth of a baby boy, using the oocyte cryopreservation protocol in the country. The outcome of the process carried out in the clinic earlier this year, was a healthy baby boy called Tiwatope.

Oocyte cryopreservation is the cooling of female eggs to sub-zero temperature in order to stop all biological activity and preserve them for future use.

According to Dr Emmanuel Owie, a fertility doctor at the clinic, Tiwatope’s birth was significant in many aspects as it puts Nigeria on the global map in the practice of oocyte cryopreservation.

“Before his birth, this new practice seemed to be an exclusive preserve of the developed world of Europe and North America. It is even more significant considering the fact that since the report of the first pregnancy through this protocol in 1986, the practice has resulted in the birth of only about 5,000 babies worldwide.”

The doctor explained further that the mother of the infant had her eggs frozen using the vitrification, also known as flash-freezing process (the cutting edge technology in cryobiology, where the eggs or oocytes of a woman are dehydrated and the water content replaced with “anti-freeze” solution (cryoprotectants) before freezing).

The Coordinator, Corporate Communications and Client Services, Dr. Ekundayo Omogbehin, stated that with this accomplishment in fertility processes, Nigerian women need not go to foreign lands in search of fertility options.

Omogbehin said, “We hope that this will make Nigerians realise that they can get what they travel abroad for in Nigeria at cheaper rate with the same standard. We also hope that more Nigerian women who have conceived through novel IVF techniques can come out and talk about it to give other fertility challenged couples hope.”