Hope of becoming parents brightened for low income Nigerian couples with infertility problem on Tuesday following the launch of a Foundation with a mandate to assist them in accessing medically-assisted interventions such as the costly In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Dr. Oluwatoyin Abass, founder of the new non-governmental organisation, Range Foundation, disclosed that the new Foundation has been established to help address the problem of infertility in the country, especially among the low income earners and would, together with partners, assist such couples in every way possible to experience the joy of parenthood.
Dr. Abass who had overcome infertility through IVF herself, made this commitment in Lagos, during the launch of her books, titled: Range and Wellness Found Me and the new foundation.
The author who also celebrated her 40th birthday at the occasion descirbed Range Foundation as a continuation of the book Range.
“But much more than the book, we will be able to provide support for couples that are battling infertility. So Range foundation is going to be an offshoot of the book itself and what we seek to do is to provide financial, emotional, physical and social support for couples that are battling the same sort of problems but are not necessarily able to afford it.
“So people who are of low social economic status who will benefit from medical interventions from fertility treatment but are not able to afford, we seek be able to assist them to fund their fertility treatments. My desire really is to see the woman who sells pepper in the market to be able to get fertility treatment so that she can have the joy of motherhood,” Dr. Abass promised.
Talking about her books, she said Range sheds light on the plight of people going through infertility; the stigma, troubles attached and the struggles that come with it. But more importantly, she said the book brings hope and tells how one could wade through that journey without losing oneself or marriage.
“Range chronicles our journeys through infertility; our victories, struggles, challenges, and how we fought through. It’s basically talking about resilient, the role of faith and also to let people to be open to medical interventions because whether you like it or not there are people that will benefit from the medical help but they are actually not open to the idea also because of stigma and the thinking that you are assisting God,” she said.
On the second book, Wellness Found Me, she said: “It is more of what I do because in my journey through infertility I had health issues that arose as result of fertility treatment and stuff. When I finished the whole process, I had my baby but I was in a place where my health had taken so much vaccine and developed some medical problems as a result and I needed help but could not find. I knew conventional medicines wouldn’t help me. I’m a medical doctor by profession.
“So I started to research, I registered for courses, I bought books, I read. In my journey at that point in trying to get back to good health, I was also able to help scores of people and the more I try to go back to clinical medicine and just do what I know how to do being a clinical doctor, the more I fell drawn to wellness,” she said.
For this 40 year old, her paramount goal as well is to help dispel the stigma associated with IVF. “It took nearly eight years for us to have our son and I know how it felt; the way people look at you because you don’t have a child, the things that are said behind your back and even family friends. They might mean well but the things they say also put pressure on couples when they’re trying to have a baby.
“So we are seeking to dispel that stigma of infertility and hopefully we can lend our voice to this fight so that other people who are fighting through the same thing can also benefit in treatments that are available and are not expensive.
“I dare say that there is a bit of my heart that is thinking that we should also open up to adoption because there are a lot of children out there who need homes, who need to be loved and so while we are waiting, there is nothing wrong with adopting.”
Dr. Abass however, recognized stigma as part of the hindrances to adoption saying: “It is also a stigma that is attached to adoption that makes people not to actually come forward to adopt. If you think about it when you were growing up you probably have other children pass through your home. Your parents raised other people’s children without legally signing a paper. So I don’t know whether it is because we have to sign a paper that becomes a problem. But one way or the other I think that we should start to have that conversation about also adopting.”