A Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Mrs. Dela Sowah has performed the launch of the Walking Egg (tWE) affordable In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) fertility treatment. It was performed during the 2nd National Conference on Infertility/Childlessness which was held at the National Theatre, Accra, on Saturday April 25, 2015.
Mrs Sowah said the practice of surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technologies were becoming very prevalent in Ghana owing to the high number of childless couples and individuals.
She said the absence of a law to regulate the industry had resulted in many problems between surrogate mothers and intended parents. She therefore assured participants that her Ministry will work with other stakeholders to get the appropriate policies and laws in place.
In our society, marriage is not deemed successful till the couple become parents. Childlessness is a big problem in our society and gives some couples an emotional blow, with the wife, sometimes enduring taunts and insults from in-laws and the society at large.
Science has some hope in the form of infertility treatment for couples and individuals facing infertility who have lost hope. They can be counselled or assisted to undergo treatment for any of the assisted reproductive technology or to consider the option of adoption as an alternative.
She concluded by saying that the technology would bring relief to a lot of childless couples who could not afford the expensive options available.
The Walking Egg (tWE) in Ghana
The Chief Executive Officer of ACCOG, Nana Yaw Osei, gave the history about how tWE came into Ghana. He said he was conducting his research on fertility/infertility using the internet as one of his tools when he came across an article online in May 2013 which spoke about the affordable method. He contacted Prof. Willem Ombelet who is the President of TWE and the relationship began. Apart from Belgium, the country of origin, the next country in the world which has the technology now is Ghana. TWE is therefore at the doorstep of all people living with infertility in Ghana and beyond. For now, it is available at the Pentecost Hospital in Madina. Nana Yaw Osei also called on all stakeholders to work with ACCOG in order to come out with appropriate laws on ARTs and Surrogacy.
Effectiveness of the walking egg method
The walking egg technology uses inexpensive citric acid and bicarbonate of soda to produce carbon dioxide as against the high levels of the gas carbon dioxide needed when growing embryos in an IVF clinic. Again, the set up cost to enable a hospital/health centre use the technology is not as expensive as the conventional one.
Prof Ombelet explained that the new method, which was introduced in 2012, has so far led to the successful delivery of many healthy children in Belgium.
He said the technology was now available and accessible to all interested couples in Ghana. He thanked ACCOG and its management for the hard work they did within the two (2) of coming into contact with them before the method was introduced into Ghana. He said without the personal involvement of the CEO, Nana Yaw Osei, TWE’s work may not have reached this far.
Other speakers like Dr. Patrick Aboagye of the Ghana Heath Service who represented the Minister for Health, Lawyer Vivian Bless Tomey of Legal Assistance Network, Mr. George Afrifa, Manager of Pentecost Hospital, Sheikh Armiyao Shuaib, member of the Advisory Board of the National Chief Imam and Apostle Nene Ahorlu Ofoe Amegatcher who chaired the occasion all spoke about the importance of getting appropriate laws on ARTs and Surrogacy for Ghana in the light of recent events in the country and to safeguard the lives of patrons.
This year’s conference, held on the theme: “The Walking Egg at your Doorstep” was attended by mostly couples and individuals without children.
See How the Conference was reported in the media:
Just list the web addresses under main story.
1. Modern Ghana
2. Graphic Online
3. World News
9. Ghana News Agency
10. The Walking Egg