African Mass Media & Infertility


Some weeks ago, my attention was drawn to a publication in the online version of one of the big newspapers in Nigeria. The article was headlined “Busted! How young ladies sell their eggs for money”; I proceeded to read what appeared to me like an amateur’s attempt at Investigative Journalism. This lady had gone to two fertility clinics in Lagos, one on the Mainland, one on the Island; she pretended to be interested in donating her eggs and was put through the process, until she was given FSH injections and she absconded. When the nurse called her to inquire about her progress, she told the nurse that she was no longer interested; the nurse replied ‘Okay, can you kindly bring the injections back for us because they are expensive’ to which the lady laughed and wrote ‘How was she expecting me to bring back their injections??’

What she didn’t know was that those drugs didn’t come from the hospital’s account, but from the account of a woman who had probably saved up for an IVF cycle. What she didn’t know was that at the time she was being given FSH, she had already been paired with a recipient who was also on injectables of her own. What she didn’t know was that in an attempt to appear as a journalist, she had broken one woman’s dreams and squandered drugs that someone saved money to pay for. Donors are hard to come by, talk less of one that is closest to the recipient’s personality, physique, and intellect. My heart went out to the woman who would receive a call from her nurse that she had to stop her injections, because the donor absconded, and that she would have to pay for injections again, because she took the injections with her. But of course, Madam Journalist couldn’t be bothered, and the backlash continued.

As a previous egg donor myself, I felt particularly insulted when she said young girls were selling their eggs for money. When my sister and I heard about egg donation, we didn’t even know there was compensation attached. When the nurse told me I was going to receive compensation for the treatment I would undergo, I did not understand it until I started my FSH. I was self-injecting for about six weeks, and this so called compensation isn’t even up to my house allowance. I stand corrected, but I don’t think you can place monetary value on an ovum, so much so, that if I wasn’t donating those eggs, I wouldn’t do it at all. If the word ‘donation’ lost its meaning somewhere in the process, I would never have been proud enough to tell people, or even write about what I did for a fellow woman. But of course, in Nigeria, few people believe that human beings can be kind. I would not expect someone who stole a woman’s FSH injections to understand the sacrifice of egg donation, would I?

The writer called IVF an easy means for ‘the rich’ in the society to get pregnant, and a ‘multi-billion Naira’ business for fertility clinics. I am yet to meet or read about anyone who went through IVF and called it easy. This African writer believes that women who undergo IVF have nothing else to do with their money, and decide to spend time, resources, sweat and blood trying to get assisted reproduction. Like, who would not prefer the natural means of getting pregnant? And so she slammed egg donors, egg recipients and IVF patients, as well the hospitals that have done nothing but bring hope again to millions of Nigerian homes. And as expected, the comments reeled in; someone even said IVF is a work of satan, a way of attempting to take away God’s glory at conception. But no IVF treatment comes with 100 percent guarantee; you can do everything right and still get a BFN. In the end, everything remains in the hands of God.

And so I wonder, a popular newspaper publishes such an article in 2015, and Nigerians comment and commend the journalist for ‘exposing the ills in our society’, and I wonder if we are moving forward or backward. This is the reason people are still scared to openly talk about their fertility issues; or the fact that they are undergoing assisted reproduction. A woman sitting in the lounge of a fertility hospital, and sights a colleague or acquaintance, is sure to use the magazine she was glancing through to cover her face, rather than wave and say hello. But it is no longer an issue that we can sweep under the carpet, because it is about time women stopped dying in silence. Look at the community we have here, and the support we render to one another; there are millions of women out there who need same. Because we can’t keep quiet anymore. Infertility is not a disease, neither is IVF an insult on God, nor are fertility hospitals the evil vultures pecking on women’s problems.

Nope, infertility is (by God’s Grace) a passing phase. IVF is God’s way of correcting an error in nature and revealing that He takes the glory, no matter the means; and fertility hospitals in Nigeria? What can I say? Thank you for giving hopes to millions of couples. I know my Aunt would not have any hope of childbirth now, if it weren’t for assisted reproduction that’s available to her. Can you tell that I am pretty emotional writing this?? They don’t know. They don’t understand and yet, they judge. God bless Nicole for starting a community like this, and the amazing work she is putting in. Everyday I pray, that the women who need us, find us somehow. It’s a big bad scary world out there. We all need a safe haven where we can simply be ourselves and share our joys, pains and journeys together.

God help us all!




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  1. That’s such a mean journalist but yea she is quite unaware of the trauma she has caused. I have given up on educating anyone who has such a strong stance on ART. My prayer is that they will never have cause to need it, i busy myself encouraging those who need it but have shut it off as an option and are heading to the big 4 0!!
    I look at egg/sperm donor this way – when a couple get married, 2 becomes 1 right? So whatever the donor is, the couple have themselves in the one they give…if they truly believe in 2 becoming 1 i dnt see why a donor should be unacceptable.
    Shout out to Nicole for this forum, and to all my people who i have begged to join and are silently reading all then harassing me for speaking up….It is not a STIGMA!!!! It is when you can speak about it in passing to friends that you know you are truly free and in a better place about this issue.

  2. Great comment @bosa It is not a stigma. Thank you for speaking up and for enlightening those in your circle. It is definitely creating a ripple effect until we all get to that point when Infertility no longer becomes a taboo topic and the ignorant come to light. God help us all :hugs:

  3. @bosa God bless you. I and DH agreed on IVF after being married for 8months and diagnosed with blocked tube. I never see it as a way of playing God. People go for Kidney Transplant etc and is that Playing God? I have been through 2 failed cycles in 6months so if it IVF is an easy way out then how come it hasn’t worked for all of us. Taking several injections and having to cope with swollen ovaries and cramps from Egg retrieval? oh and OHSS toooooo. not easy to say the least.

    I convinced my male colleague to allow is wife go for IVF, she is 41 and their cycle was successful.

    I don’t pray infertility for my worst enemy. Its a sad lonely road esp when you have no one to talk to because nobody realy understands.

    Baby dust to us all @ipheoma @nicole

  4. My dear, this is what they just don’t seem to understand. They assume it’s fun popping pills, taking injections for long nights at a go, putting your life on hold and changing your schedule entirely. I just hope the word continues to go round, one person at a time. Thank you so much for talking with your colleague, one less childless couple because of you. God bless you for this and crown your own efforts with success :hugs: @mrsd

  5. You know better when you have fertility problem, abscond and making a fellow woman pass through pain, ivf is not easy, having pass through it, African and the stigma attached to infertility, may God comfort and pit laughter on us all…

  6. You know better when you have fertility problem, abscond and making a fellow woman pass through pain, ivf is not easy, having pass through it, African and the stigma attached to infertility, may God comfort and put laughter on us all…

  7. Somehow I am inclined to pray negativelt for the silly journalist that if she doesnt have kids she will pass through tortured to get them…its just so sad when people act so stupid.

    Who wants the burden of IVF? There is ever so much worry , you worry about finances, worry about geting pregnant, worry about making it to 12 weeks, worry about carrying full term, worry about ur children being ok…etc if that is playing God I am really not sure many would choose that road. I am just so angry that this woman was allowed to write this article and let her stupidity shine through…

    • Gist, you really are angry, but no need to waste your breathe, you just hit the nail on the head with that last statement;its her stupidity.IVF is still a mystery to so many people and this article is a counter to her story. For all we know, there might be someone in her organisation, who was going through IVF and is not smiling at her for that insensitive article.Quite, unfortunate for a journalist but that was simply her level of exposure in this area.

  8. People really have no business talking about something they don’t understand. That journalist needs a good sitting down and talking too. Ahba! No wonder people say if you haven’t walked in my shoes, don’t tell me where it aches.

  9. I thank God for the many people who are enlightened and those who are open to learn. These media people should at least do proper reaseach before churning out trash.

  10. Infertility is not a disease and no one, absolutely no one should be bashed because they sought assisted reproduction. The real disease and ill in our society is the ignorance of some people, coupled with the ignorance that spew from some of our religious pulpits.


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