Exclusive chat with Jean Nassar, an obstetrics and IVF knowledgeable at One Wellness Centre, a reproductive well being hub in Lagos, Nigeria.
Smack in the heart of Victoria Island, Lagos, the One Wellness Centre’s (OWC) reception is heat, with folks in inexperienced scrubs greeting guests with smiles. The guests have quite a lot of wants associated to fertility and copy. Some are dad and mom who need assistance getting pregnant, and a few are right here to freeze their eggs or sperm till they’re able to have children. Some ladies are right here to deal with or stop reproductive issues like ovarian cysts. Others come for beauty procedures that may enhance their sexual well being and pleasure. Chibuki Aigbe, the follow supervisor at OWC, took us on a tour of the facility.
We checked out the session rooms, a surgical procedure, a pharmacy, places of work, and an embryology lab. Each of those rooms is named after several types of lotus flowers.
“The lotus often takes the shapes of the vulva and womb,” Aigbe informed us. “It symbolises different aspects of female sexuality, and that is why we have named these rooms after its various species.”
After the tour, we sat down with a specialist at the centre, Jean Nassar, a specialist with over 18 years of expertise in obstetrics and in vitro fertilization (IVF), who’s additionally head of the IVF unit at St George’s Hospital University Medical Centre in Lebanon. We talked about the OWC’s methods, applied sciences, and overarching mission: their ardour for serving to ladies have infants.
You have over 18 years of expertise in fertility and gynecology. My first query can be, why did you select to practise in Nigeria?
I first visited Nigeria two years in the past and noticed many well being centres. I discovered a major hole in the medical discipline right here, particularly regarding fertility, with its new methods and applied sciences. And I needed to deliver all my experience and the newest expertise right here to Nigeria to assist folks have children.
What is One Wellness Centre’s mission, and what companies do you supply? Why is it known as a wellness centre, versus a hospital or a clinic?
We name it a wellness centre as a result of, regardless that we’re presently coping with fertility, we additionally plan to open an aesthetic clinic. So, it’s not only a fertility clinic.
It’s not simply ladies’s well being; it’s the whole lot regarding ladies’s well being and aesthetics. We have a extensively skilled staff (together with myself), with specialists in IVF, high-risk maternal drugs, and foetal drugs. Dr Joe and I each have expertise in Europe and Lebanon. Our embryologist, Dr Pamela Bazi, got here from overseas as nicely. We used to work collectively and have had promising outcomes, so we needed to copy that right here in Nigeria. We’ve introduced all our information, new methods, and expertise regarding fertility. These embody companies like ovarian PRP [platelet-rich plasma] or ovarian rejuvenation. The ovarian PRP is a singular and promising approach that helps [older] ladies earlier than 50 have infants. It’s a brand new problem, and we hope to proceed having nice and beneficial outcomes.
I’ve seen that in Nigeria, ladies search assist at an older age than the common in the world. We have a whole lot of ladies in their early to mid-40s simply searching for fertility assist for the first time. Age is essential in fertility, in order that’s normally a problem as a result of generally we now have to supply a lift earlier than beginning the IVF or the fertility therapy, to allow them to have their child even at an older age.
Tell us a bit about the expertise that you just use to assist these ladies.
We have the newest manipulators and incubators. Everything is very new and up-to-date, together with the software program. But what is thrilling is the PRP, the ovarian PRP, which is ovarian rejuvenation. The approach it really works is that we take blood from the affected person, and we take the plasma from it. Plasma is wealthy in cytokines and development components, so we inject each ovaries with this product. This helps stimulate the ovaries once more to have new follicles, higher high quality follicles, and higher eggs. This process will increase the probabilities of the lady having a child.
Does this work for ladies who’re previous menopause?
We haven’t tried it on ladies who’re previous menopause, however it could possibly work for perimenopausal ladies. It’s additionally not nearly fertility; it additionally works for menopausal signs like vaginal atrophy, the place a perimenopausal lady may be experiencing signs like a dry or atrophic vagina, for occasion. We carry out vaginal PRP on the intimate space to revive regular sexual emotions and exercise.
How do you guarantee the safety and privateness of your sufferers’ knowledge, contemplating the delicate nature of those remedies?
It’s essential that sufferers’ recordsdata are dealt with discreetly, so all the recordsdata are saved behind locked doorways. These are bodily recordsdata, however they’re additionally backed up on-line. And due to how delicate the embryos are, our embryology lab is at all times locked and passcode-protected. Only the embryologist has the code, and no person else is allowed to entry it.
What steps do you’re taking to create a supportive and empathetic atmosphere for ladies with safe well being?
Given how delicate fertility is as a topic, we deal with each a part of the session with care; we’re very cautious with how we discuss to the sufferers. So we attempt to present assist for her psychologically as nicely as a result of the affected person’s way of thinking is additionally vital in this troublesome journey and might have an effect on the outcomes.
That’s attention-grabbing. How so?
Psychology is important as a result of if the affected person secretes oxidative stress inside their physique, it could possibly have an effect on the egg high quality and implantation of the embryo. And this is a incontrovertible fact that has been confirmed by research. I’ll provide you with an instance: a lady can journey and never have her interval for 10 or 15 days or may get her interval twice per thirty days simply because she’s in a brand new place or has a disturbing occasion in her life. It’s the identical approach stress can have an effect on the probabilities of having a child and even responding nicely to medicine.
But again to how we offer care and assist: we attempt to put together the affected person for destructive outcomes. Even although our aim is at all times to have optimistic outcomes, it’s not at all times 100% profitable. So, we put together her for the risk of destructive outcomes, after which she will be able to both return for one other cycle or proceed residing her life usually.
What’s the success or failure charge?
The success charge relies upon primarily on the age of the affected person. On common, it’s greater than 50%, but it surely depends upon the age of the affected person. It’s on a case-by-case foundation.
Can you share any success tales or testimonials that spotlight the optimistic impression of OWC on sufferers’ lives?
We had a affected person who was about 46 or 47 years outdated who did PRP right here. She obtained pregnant spontaneously after the process, not even by doing IVF. So that’s why our work right here is vital.
We noticed an andrology lab throughout our tour. Do you additionally work with males?
My work with males is primarily in andrology. So if there’s any sperm downside or any psychological challenge with the husband or the male companion, I work on it with them and attempt to appropriate any sperm abnormalities. My work with male sufferers stops at surgical procedure. They’re normally referred to different specialists in the event that they want any type of surgical procedure.
Have you encountered any cultural challenges with sufferers right here that you just don’t encounter in your different international locations?
The predominant challenge right here is that sufferers don’t search assist early. Typically, sufferers ought to search assist after one yr of standard unprotected intercourse with out conception, however that’s not the case right here. They usually come right here after 5, 10 or 15 years. They don’t even settle for therapy after one or two years, however these few years generally make all the distinction in their probabilities of having a child.
How does OWC keep up to date with the newest developments in fertility and wellness analysis? Are there any ongoing analysis tasks or collaborations?
I normally attend a month-to-month or bi-monthly medical convention in Europe. The final was held in July in Copenhagen, Denmark. The European Committee had the greatest convention in Europe. I additionally attend all the medical conferences regarding fertility round the world.
As expertise continues to evolve, how do you see it shaping the panorama of girls’s fertility? For occasion, do you suppose there’s a spot for AI in the business?
At the convention in Denmark in July, for the first time, we talked about AI and IVF. The future is promising, as AI will be capable of select the finest embryo to be transferred to a lady. And I feel we shall be there very quickly, perhaps inside the subsequent one or two years. It will substitute a lot of the applied sciences used to pick the finest embryos. Usually, there’s no clear reply as to which embryos to switch. With AI, we’ll have a solution.
That’s thrilling. What different rising applied sciences do you suppose shall be helpful in the business?
It’s simply AI for now, and I’m very enthusiastic about it.
How accessible do you suppose your companies are, particularly given the financial scenario right here?
We attempt to give some reductions or generally free consultations. It depends upon the case. For occasion, if a affected person tries IVF for the second time, we give them a reduction.
Do you suppose AI could make your work or the process cheaper for folks?
I don’t suppose so as a result of AI received’t substitute human experience relating to surgical procedure or [egg] retrieval.
…. to be continued
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