In another first for the Nigerian government, a baby has been conceived through the oocyte (egg) freezing process, The Nation reports. The outcome of the process carried out at the Bridge Clinic, Lagos on February 16 is a bouncing baby boy named Tiwatope. The egg used in the conception of the boy was preserved through cryopreservation (the cooling of cells and tissues to sub-zero temperatures to stop biological activity and preserve the cells for future use).
The report explains that human oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) is a process in which a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen and stored.
Later, when she is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can be thawed, fertilised and transferred to the uterus as embryo. Dr Emmanuel Owie, the fertility physician with The Bridge Clinic where the process took place, explained that Tiwatope’s birth was significant in many aspects, especially because it puts Nigeria on the global map in the practice of oocyte cryopreservation. He said: “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 parents of the Tiwatope had battled infertility for eight years, but the process was concluded within just two months.
According to Dr Owie, “We fertilised the eggs using a standard technique, known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to overcome the egg shell, which normally gets hardened with freezing. “The fertilised egg was subsequently transferred into her womb, resulting in the pregnancy of Tiwatope. She had her antenatal care in her family hospital and delivered the baby boy through caesarian section (SC).”
Mother and child are said to be in a steady health condition.
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