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Nigeria has recorded the first successful birth of a baby conceived from frozen egg of a 44-year-old woman, who had suffered infertility for eight years, making it the first in the country and West Africa.

The birth and conception of the baby, named Tiwatope, which is the 5001st in the world, were carried out by Nigerian fertility specialists at The Bridge Clinic, a Lagos-based fertility treatment centre, where the mother had her eggs frozen using the vitrification (flash-freezing) process (oocyte cryopreservation).

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 the fertility physician at the clinic, Dr. Emmanuel Owie, who spoke at a press briefing organised by the hospital in Lagos on Thursday, this is the first of a baby that would be conceived and born using this assisted reproductive technology in West Africa.

Owie said the eggs from the mother were frozen using liquid nitrogen for two months before they were used for the In-Vitro Fertilisation procedure for the couple.

He said, “It was the second attempt using this IVF technique for the couple and they have been trying to conceive for the last eight years. We also have been perfecting oocyte cryopreservation for five years. It is the first live birth in West Africa. It is a novel technique developed in Europe and North America.

The Coordinator, Corporate Communications and Client Services, Dr. Ekundayo Omogbehin, noted that with this feat, Nigerian women need not travel to Indian and United Kingdom hospitals to have their eggs frozen till when they are ready to have babies.

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.

“Egg freezing is for women who have been diagnosed with cancer who may lose their fertility during chemotherapy; women with a family history of early menopause and women who want to delay child bearing for moral or personal reasons.”

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