A HARARE-BASED private health institution, Avenues Clinic, has re-introduced the test tube baby programme scientifically known as in-vitro fertilisation, giving hope to couples who struggle to conceive naturally.
By Phyllis Mbanje
The procedure was pioneered at the Avenues Clinic in the 1980s by obstetrician, Tony Robertson, but discontinued in 2000 when he briefly left the country.
Avenues Clinic managing director, Merissa Kambani said the 52 people, who were conceived through Robertson’s in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) programme, were now adults.
In-vitro fertilisation is a process where a woman’s eggs and her husband’s sperm are brought together outside the womb in a dish in a laboratory.
After embryos have begun forming one or two of the embryos are implanted in the woman’s womb, where they continue developing. Excess embryos formed can then be frozen for future implantation.
“There are so many couples desperate for a child, but unable to have one; in that in-vitro fertilisation could assist. The success of the programme carried out at the Avenues Clinic in the 1980s and 1990s shows that we have the expertise and facilities locally to conduct a successful IVF programme,” she said.
In addition to in-vitro fertilisation, the health institution also offers other fertility treatments that include intra-uterine insemination, commonly referred to as artificial insemination.
Robertson said his team had the capacity to offer interventions to sub-fertile couples at an affordable price with the convenience of it being done in Zimbabwe.
He said couples elsewhere in the region were also likely to want to take advantage of the programme.