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Diane Amedo, embryologist and fertility advisor
Diane Amedo, embryologist and fertility advisor

Consider banking eggs, sperms to secure babies in future — Embryologist

An embryologist and fertility advisor, Diane Amedo, has advised would-be parents to bank their eggs and sperms as surety for children when they are ready to start families.


She said rather than waiting to experience challenges with fertility, storing eggs and sperms when a person was in their prime was a better option for some fertility treatment procedures.

In an interview with The Mirror in Accra last Wednesday, she explained, for instance, that the quality and quantity of eggs reduced from age 35 in women, affecting their fertility.

Mrs Amedo said although there might be some outliers, the reduction in the quality and quantity of eggs after 35 made it difficult for some women to produce normal pregnancies.

Similarly, in men, she said, the gradual decline in testosterone as they aged could contribute to the decline in quantity and quality of their sperms. “If you are a young person focused on your career or not in a stable relationship but would love to have children in future, you can do a fertility baseline assessment to know your state and then based on experts’ advice, plan what to do.

“From experience, we have realised most people do not know this and wait till later in their 40s when they face fertility challenges before they seek help from experts. During consultations, you realise they had decent salaries and could choose that option if they knew about it,” she explained.

Sucess rate and cost of procedure

According to the embryologist, there have been advancements in how gametes (sperm and egg cells) are stored, however, the success rate depended on what age they were frozen and the quantity.

“On average, you might need about 15 to 20 eggs to be able to have a chance of a successful pregnancy. Just because you have frozen an egg does not guarantee pregnancy. If you are able to freeze at a younger age when the eggs are healthier, you have a better chance of a successful pregnancy.

Asked if there was not a possibility of the health facility giving a person’s stored eggs or sperms to another person, she said even before the specimen was collected, there were strict processes to ensure such mistakes did not occur, adding, “That’s a legal issue no clinic wants to be involved in”.

On the cost of procedures, the embryologist explained that, on average, women between 31 to 34 years could spend $5000 for the first year. This includes the cost of initial screening and registration, lab screening, medications, and other processes. Each year, a renewal fee 500 is charged for storage at the IVF  lab.

"So with this, the cost of drugs used can vary due to the age of the woman. Also,  procedures like the egg retrieval part or the IVF lab part can be discounted as well.

"For men, they don’t need stimulation drugs or much preparation to produce their semen. So it’s a simple process usually. Semen freezing process is $250 for half a year and $500 for a year," she explained.

Other conditions that require gamete freezing

Social egg freezing is the term used to describe the practice of freezing a woman’s egg for non-medical purposes. In such instances, these women delay childbirth for personal reasons.

However, there are some conditions, some medical, which require a person to bank their gametes if they intend to have children in the future. Mrs Amedo cited instances like going through chemotherapy treatment after a cancer diagnosis, working in the mines and deployments in the army.

Explaining further, she said during chemotherapy, certain medications and procedures might affect a person’s fertility; hence, the need to discuss options before the treatment could start.

“Young men working in the mines might be exposed to certain environmental factors that can affect the quality of their sperms. A person going on deployment and has the means could also consider this option, you may never know if you will suffer an injury that can affect your fertility,” she added.

Will you bank your eggs or sperms?

This reporter spoke to a woman in her 40s, who spoke on condition of anonymity. According to her, if she knew such a procedure existed, she would have opted for it in her prime.
Currently, she is planning to adopt a child after a number of failed attempts to conceive.

She recounted that she had surgeries to correct issues in her pelvic area, which later affected her ovaries. “I have been to facilities in and out of the country but it looks like there’s no way I’m going to conceive with or without any assistance so I have given up. I worked in a department store in America for a year, if I knew this option before the surgeries, I would have frozen my eggs,” she stated.

Another lady, Aba Esaandoh, said she would only consider it if she was assured there were no effects from injecting the medications that matured the eggs before they were harvested.

“I have watched the process on YouTube and I think the men have an easier option because all they have to do is ejaculate. I find the process for women cumbersome. The injections, the procedure itself, invasion of my vagina… but if that’s how I can protect my eggs and have babies in future, I may consider,” she said.



Assisted reproductive technology (ART), which is a medical procedure used to address infertility has become popular in Ghana. These complex procedures may be an option for people who have already gone through various infertility treatment options but who still have not achieved pregnancy.

Some of the processes are controlled ovarian stimulation with timed intercourse, Intrauterine insemination, IVF, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, testicular sperm collection, gamete donation and surrogacy as some forms of ART.

To date, there is still no law to regulate the activities of facilities and professionals operating in the field. Three years ago, when this reporter spoke to the President of the Fertility Society of Ghana, Dr Edem K. Hiadzi, he said the society at its recent annual webinar and general meeting worked on a document that would be presented to Parliament after final consultation with a stakeholder group.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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