Ghana has made history as the second country in the world to use ‘The Walking Egg’ (TWE) technology to produce a baby.
The feat was achieved on Monday after a couple who had been childless for eight years had a healthy baby boy on the third attempt with the technology at the Pentecost Hospital at Madina, near Accra.
It was a moment of joy and glory for the couple, their families and friends after the birth of the baby, who weighed 3.3 kilogrammes.
The Walking Egg
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The TWE technology is a form of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) method that allows the sperm of a man and the egg of a woman to fertilise outside the body for about two to five days.
After that, the fertilised egg is given back to the woman to carry till the delivery period.
The technology was developed by a team of Belgian fertility experts, led by Professor Willem Ombelet.
The IVF is one of the three forms of artificial fertility treatment. The two others are intra-uterine insemination (IUI) and intra-cervical insemination (ICI), in other words, intra-vaginal insemination.
The TWE was introduced at the maiden edition of the affordable IVF Fertility Treatment Conference organised by the Association of Childless Couples of Ghana (ACCOG) in 2015.
Before the application of the method, the couple are examined critically to find out the problem of childlessness and this is solved immediately before the process begins.
Currently, the method has resulted in the delivery of 83 babies in Belgium, and Ghana is the second country in the world to have used the technology to deliver a baby, although other countries, including the United Kingdom, have also started using the method.
Briefing the media in Accra on Monday, the Medical Administrator of the Pentecost Hospital, Dr Gordon Nii Armah Attoh, said children were a source of happiness to many people and so the lack of children in marriage was a source of worry and frustration to couples.
As a result, he said, the hospital worked in collaboration with the team in Belgium to introduce the affordable IVF, which also underwent cycles, just like the natural way of becoming pregnant and delivering babies.
“Unlike the conventional IVF known to people, the TWE has minimal medication for stimulation and does not require any sophisticated medication to see its success,” he stated.
Dr Attoh said although the cost might differ from the conventional method, the TWE method was made affordable for the childless couple because the hospital went through the process in groups to ensure efficiency of equipment, resources and effective utilisation of medication.
He said the hospital looked forward to advancing the technology by introducing other methods of fertility treatment to facilitate the process for helpless couples to give birth.
“How patients are treated ensures that no infections are carried by patients, healthcare providers and the environment,” he said.
Dr Attoh said there was no restriction from undergoing the method for women who had been menstruating.
However, people with two children would be denied access to the method in order to create room for couples who were in dire need of babies, he added.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the ACCOG and fertility counselor, Nana Yaw Osei, said “the cost for the TWE has been reduced from GH¢20,000 per cycle to about GH¢6,000 to make it affordable for all childless couples”.
He called on the government and corporate bodies to support the initiative by subsidising some of the equipment used in the process.
Some women the Daily Graphic spoke to expressed delight in the new technology to help childless couples to have babies.
They, however, asked hospitals specialising in the treatment not to hide the failure rate from potential patients.
According to them, every technology, especially the different types of insemination, had failure rates and it would be professionally good on the part of the doctors to make public the failure rates, just as they celebrated the success rate.