Just a little over a week ago, Bulawayo received its first good news as far as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is concerned – a baby conceived through IVF was born at Bulawayo Assisted Reproductive Technology (BART) centre.
IVF is an assisted reproductive technology (ART). The IVF process involves extracting eggs and then manually combining them with the retrieved sperms from the male in a lab dish to form an embryo. The embryo will continue to grow for a 3 – 5 days in the lab before being transferred to the uterus. Prior to the transfer, the uterus needs to be prepared in order for it to receive the embryo; this is done through hormone medication administration. The process is basically done to mimic natural pregnancy.
In Zimbabwe, IVF had been discontinued in the 1990s but now there are a couple of clinics offering the service in Harare and Bulawayo with BART Centre being one of them.
It’s great to note such technological advances happening locally. So instead of going to Harare or South Africa to get IVF, one can just acquire it locally. This saves on time; additional and sometimes unexpected logistical issues; and of course, it cuts on the costs significantly. Also, considering how forex has become a hassle in Zim, this is no doubt great news.
However, because BART Centre is still new (it only opened in December 2016) I would think that the sample size used to calculate the success rate is still too small. But then again, like in everything else, there’s always a starting point.
What’s impressive is that they already have good results and judging from the period since they opened, this must have been one of their very first IVF procedures. Though the baby came two weeks sooner (I just had to include this for other Africans like me who are very much alert when it comes to calculating such things) there were no other complications noted.
We hope to be seeing more of such results… and of course more clinics offering ART locally – it’s high time we start trusting our own medical services.