The 17th day of November every year is dedicated to raise awareness of premature births around the world. A baby is said to be born prematurely if delivered after less than 37 weeks of pregnancy. A normal pregnancy lasts for about 40 weeks. In 2018 the World Health Organization released a report on the countries with the most premature births in the world. Nigeria was listed as the third country with the highest preterm births. There are three categories of preterm births

  • Extremely preterm- babies born after less than 28 weeks of pregnancy
  • Very preterm- babies born after 28 to 32 weeks of pregnancy
  •  Moderate to late preterm- babies born after 32 to 37 weeks of pregnancy.

       The reasons for preterm births are largely unknown. Some factors that could lead to a premature birth are:

  • Less than 6 months interval between pregnancies
  • Multiple miscarriages or abortions
  • A previous premature birth
  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Medical conditions such as pre-eclampsia, diabetes etc.
  • Problems with the uterus or cervix
  • Infections

       Most preterm births occur spontaneously. WHO recommends a minimum of 8 contacts with health professionals throughout a pregnancy in order to identify and manage risk factors. A health professional can detect early signs of premature birth and treat the symptoms to avoid preterm birth.

       Pre-term babies often require intensive care. They may experience problems with their lungs, hearts and other organs during the first couple of weeks after their birth. Pre-term babies get intensive care in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. They get round the clock supervision and care during their entire stay in the NICU. The amount of time a baby stays in the NICU will depend on the baby’s health condition. Extremely pre-term babies usually spend a lot more time in the NICU. While most pre-term babies will develop normally, some may develop long term effects such as;

  • Learning difficulties
  • Anaemia
  • Behavioural and social-emotional problems

       Access to quality healthcare greatly increases the survival of babies born pre-term. If there are signs that a pre-term birth is imminent, it is advisable to have the baby in a hospital that has standard NICU facilities and staff.


       One of the possible causes of pre-term births is multiple pregnancies. Fertility treatments that involve transfer of embryos may increase chances of pre-term births if multiple embryos are transferred into the uterus. This is done to increase the chances of pregnancies especially in older women or due to the cause of infertility in the first place.

       To prevent multiple pregnancies and reduce the chances of pre-term births, fertility doctors implant only one embryo at a time in most cases. The embryo implanted is determined to be the healthiest one. Patients can decide to preserve other healthy embryos in case the first cycle is unsuccessful or for future use. Your fertility doctor will advise you on the best course of action.     


       IVF is a popular form of infertility treatment. Here are some facts you should know if you are considering the procedure;

  1. IVF is a natural process. A lot of people believe that IVF is an artificial process. This is false. The difference between IVF and traditional conception is that fertilization takes place outside of the body. After the egg has been fertilized by the sperm, the embryo is implanted back into the uterus and the patient carries the pregnancy to term naturally.
  2. IVF babies are not born with birth defects. IVF does not increase the chances of babies having birth defects. Countless studies on the subject have proved it without a doubt. IVF pregnancies are safe.
  3. IVF is not a “cure all” for all fertility issues. IVF does not work for every infertility case. There are different fertility treatments available for different causes of infertility. IVF is just one of the most common ones. This is why it is advisable to consult a fertility expert when you are ready to start a family. A fertility expert will run some tests and if you are in need of fertility treatment, the best option for you will be selected.
  4. IVF is not excessively expensive. IVF procedures are more affordable than a lot of people think they are. There are different fertility clinics in Nigeria that offer quality fertility treatment including IVF. If you do some research, it will be very difficult not to find one that does not match your budget. However, make sure that price is not the dominant factor when you opt for a fertility clinic. You must consider the clinic’s success rates, specialists as well as how they treat their patients. Do not pick a fertility clinic just because their prices are low. Some fertility clinics also offer payment plans for their clients to make it easier on them.
  5. IVF does not require a Caesarean section. All IVF procedure will not result to the patient having a Caesarean section. It is not a part of the process. Normal vaginal delivery is more common during IVF than Caesarean sections.
  6. IVF is not guess work. It is an extremely delicate technique. Only certified fertility clinics are licensed to carry out this procedure. It is a form of treatment recommended by fertility experts after thoroughly studying the reasons behind the patient’s infertility case. It is a procedure backed by decades of research and advancement in the medical field. The success rate of IVF for patients under 35 years is a little above 40%.
  7. IVF is not successful 100% of the time. Millions of couples have achieved their goals of starting a family thanks to IVF. It is not always successful. It has a high success rate but like other medical solutions underlying issues may hinder its success. Sometimes after a few more tries it can be successful. Other times it may not.
  8. You cannot choose to get pregnant at any age using IVF. IVF can be used to treat some age related fertility cases but it is not a guarantee that you can choose to get pregnant at any age based on that. Fertility decreases as a woman gets older. This because the quality of the eggs decreases and it also gets more difficult for women over the age of 40 to carry a successful pregnancy. If you would like to get pregnant  later on, it would be a good idea to talk to your fertility doctor about preserving your eggs when you are younger.
  9. IVF can also be used to treat male related fertility. Infertility issues are not always from the woman. Low sperm counts, low quality of sperm cells are some fertility issues that affect men. IVF increases chances of fertilization and can be used successfully for male related fertility issues. When visiting a fertility doctor, it is a good idea to go with your partner so both of you can be tested.
  10.  You could need an IVF procedure even if you have spontaneously conceived before. It is not uncommon for women who have had one or more children previously without any help to use IVF if they want to conceive again. Remember, fertility decreases with age. Other factors could also arise between one pregnancy and the next.
  11.  IVF does not necessarily mean multiple births. Sometimes more than one embryo is implanted into the womb to increase chances of a successful pregnancy. This may lead to multiple births. However, you can always choose to implant one of the healthiest embryos to avoid the risk of multiple pregnancies. It is not a requirement to implant more than one embryo.
  12.  IVF does not cause any form of cancer. Ovarian stimulation is a process in the IVF procedure. Ovarian stimulation has been thought to cause cancer. Studies have debunked this claim. IVF absolutely does not cause cancer. 

   Are you and your partner considering In Vitro Fertilization? We hope this article has cleared any myths you may have heard about the procedure. You can contact us at El-Rapha Hospital and Diagnostics for a consultation with one of our fertility experts. We would love to have you.   



IVF (In Virtro Fertilization) and ICSI (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection) are both forms of Assisted Reproductive Technology. They are a bit similar to each other but there are also some important differences you should know about if you are considering either one of them.

       The most significant difference between IVF and ICSI is their procedures. In both cases fertilization takes place outside the womb in the lab. The process of fertilization is different.

       During an IVF procedure, the egg is placed in a sperm culture and fertilization takes place naturally.

       For ICSI, a single sperm cell is injected directly into the middle of the egg. This greatly increases the chances of fertilization.


       Some fertility clinics do not offer ICSI and IVF as separate procedures. ICSI is considered as a possible option with IVF. It is normally recommended if the underlying cause of infertility lies with the male. When the sperm count is low, or the sperm cells lack motility or are of poor quality, ICSI can greatly improve the success rate of fertilization. The success rate of fertilization with ICSI is between 60%-80%. Although some studies has shown that normal IVF procedure without ICSI has a slightly higher success rate than with ICSI.


       ICSI is a bit pricier than IVF. The difference in price is as a result of the direct fertilization process.


       After consulting with one of our fertility experts, our patients are advised on which option would be best suited to then.


Does using any of the birth control methods reduce your chances of getting pregnant in the future? There is a common misconception that using any form of birth control could delay pregnancy in the future, however numerous research has proven otherwise.

It is possible and even commonplace to conceive as early as your next cycle after discontinuing whatever form of birth control you were on. This includes: condoms or diaphragms, the pill, IUDs etc. Implants may take a little longer because they are designed to pregnant pregnancy for longer periods. Once their effects lapses, it is not unusual for the female to conceive as soon as possible.

      The delay observed after the use of birth control is more likely to be as a result of the age of the female. Fertility decreases with age once a woman hits her late 20s or early 30s.

       If you do observe some delay in getting pregnant after discontinuing any sort of birth control method, you should not be alarmed. Studies have shown that the chance of pregnancy per ovulation cycle is 30% in even healthy couples.

         If you and your partner has decided to start a family it is a good idea to visit a fertility clinic or consult your gynaecologist to ensure you have all the information you need.


       Oocyte retrieval is a procedure used to obtain eggs from a female’s ovary. The procedure has minimal risks. The entire procedure usually takes between 30-60 minutes and the patient can be discharged that same day after a few hours of rest.


    We perform an oocyte retrieval for patients who are eligible for procedures like IVF, ICSI etc. Oocyte retrieval is also performed to obtain eggs for preservation or embryo freezing.


       About 36 hours before the procedure, a hcG(human choronionic gonadropin) injection is administered to the patient. HCG is a hormone that signals the follicles to prepare to ovulate. The eggs are retrieved while they are still in the follicles. It is easier to obtain them this way.

       A surgeon performs the procedure with the guidance of ultrasound technology. The surgeon uses a needle to pierce a follicle and suctions the oocyte out. The surgeon repeats the process on another follicle.

       Oocyte retrieval is not a fertility treatment in Abuja on its own. It is a stage in procedures such as IVF, ICSI and other assisted reproductive techniques.

Fertility clinics


Certain diseases can affect a woman’s ability to reproduce or get pregnant. It can be a mild issue easily treated with medications. In some cases surgery or one of the Assisted Reproductive Techniques may be required in order for the woman to get pregnant.

       Different factors can affect a woman’s reproductive health leading to one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Disruption of menstrual cycle (irregular periods)
  • Failure to ovulate
  • Poor production of eggs
  • Cancerous growth on reproductive organs

  Frequent miscarriages may also be caused by poor health. Common health problems affecting women are:

  • Endometriosis
  • Obstetric fistula
  • Polycystic Ovarian Cancer
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer

  Fertility clinics diagnose and offer treatment to cater for reproductive health issues affecting women. Regular visits to a gynaecologist, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercises can greatly improve a woman’s health. 

Minimally Invasive Surgery in Nigeria

Minimally Invasive Surgery


Minimally Invasive Surgery also allow surgeons use techniques that reduces the size of incisions that they need to make. It is generally associated with less pain, fewer complications and shorter hospital stay. El-Rapha Hospitals offers Minimally Invasive Surgeries in cases that it is required.

In minimally invasive surgery, the doctors use a variety of techniques to operate with less damage to the body than with open surgery. Minimally invasive surgery is associated with less pain, a shorter hospital stay and fewer complications.

In traditional open surgery,  surgeons makes cut to see the part of your body that they’re operating on. In minimally invasive surgery,  surgeon uses small tools, cameras, and lights that fit through several tiny cuts in your skin. This allows surgeons to perform surgery  without opening a lot of skin and muscle.

This days, some minimally invasive surgeries are done with robotic technology that allows more precise control over the surgery. Other minimally invasive surgeries are done without robotic assistance.

Types of minimally invasive surgery

Surgeons perform many minimally invasive surgeries, including:

  • Adrenalectomy to remove one or both adrenal glands
  • Anti-reflux surgery, sometimes called hiatal hernia repair, to relieve gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Cancer surgery, for example, to destroy a tumor
  • Colectomy to remove parts of a diseased colon
  • Colon and rectal surgery
  • Ear, nose and throat surgery
  • Endovascular surgery to treat or repair an aneurysm
  • Gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) to remove gallstones that cause pain
  • Gastroenterologic surgery, including for gastric bypass
  • Gynecologic surgery
  • Heart surgery
  • Kidney transplant
  • Nephrectomy (kidney removal)
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Splenectomy to remove the spleen
  • Thoracic surgery, such as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)
  • Urologic surgery


Minimally invasive surgery uses smaller surgical incisions, and it’s generally less risky than traditional surgery. But even with minimally invasive surgery,
there are risks of complications with anesthesia, bleeding and infection

Laparoscopy — surgery done through one or more small incisions, using small tubes and tiny cameras and surgical instruments — was one of the first types of minimally invasive surgery. Another type of minimally invasive surgery is robotic surgery. It provides a magnified, 3-D view of the surgical site and helps the surgeon operate with precision, flexibility and control. Continual innovations in minimally invasive surgery make it beneficial for people with a wide range of conditions. If you need surgery and think you may be a candidate for this approach, talk with your doctor.

PCOS treatment in Abuja


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects millions of women around the world. Over a hundred thousand cases of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome occur each year in Nigeria. A large percentage of this number will however remain undiagnosed. This is one of the reasons why the entire month of September is designated to increase awareness about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome popularly called PCOS.  

       PCOS affects a woman’s hormonal levels. It causes the ovaries to produce higher than normal amounts of the male hormone androgen. This affects ovulation and may make it difficult for the woman to get pregnant. Symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Increased hair growth including facial hair.
  • Weight gain etc.

       Early diagnosis of PCOS may reduce the risk of long-term complications. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown but medical experts have linked genetics and insulin resistance amongst others to excess production of the male hormone androgen.

       There is currently no cure for PCOS, doctors focus on treating the symptoms of each individual patient. PCOS may lead to weight gain or obesity. Weight loss and physical exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are very important aspects of treating PCOS. Medications such as birth control pills and anti-diabetic medication are also used to treat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

       A study states that 70%-80% with PCOS have fertility issues. While Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common cause of infertility, it does not always mean women with it cannot have children. There are different options available to women with PCOS. Your gynaecologist can always educate you on fertility and treatment options regarding PCOS.  Regular visits to your gynaecologists may increase chances of early detection. There is no special treatment centre for PCOS, a good fertility clinic in Abuja handle PCOS cases effectively.

 Make regular visits to your gynaecologist a norm.     



One of the major reasons why most people do not consider an IVF procedure in Nigeria is because of the cost. Many people believe it is outrageously expensive without even doing some research. This article will address some of the issues revolving around the cost of IVF in Nigeria.

Firstly and perhaps most importantly, a standard IVF procedure is more affordable than you realize. In Vitro Fertilization is an extremely specialized procedure that requires specialized knowledge and equipment. While this makes it costlier than a general procedure, it does not make it “expensive”. The cost of IVF in Nigeria today is much more affordable than it was ten years ago. In addition, a number of fertility clinics offers payment plans to make it even more affordable. If you do enough research, you will definitely find one that suits your budget.

Price does not necessarily determine whether the procedure will be successful or not. It does not work that way. There are many factors to consider before, during and after an IVF. Age, quality of the eggs, cause of infertility are some of the factors that could determine whether it would be successful or not. A higher price does not guarantee success and vice versa.

       It is always smart to select treatment plans within your budget, but this should not be the dominant factor. Before selecting a fertility clinic (or any hospital really), ensure you have done your homework. Success rates of past IVF patients, the clinic’s ratings, customer/patient care, available counselling, follow up etc, are factors you have to consider other than the price. Remember, the cost of IVF in Nigeria is not as expensive as you think it is and it is not the only factor you consider when you opt for it.

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