Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
AN in vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinic has been opened in Bulawayo, the second such health facility in the country to offer services to couples faced with infertility.
IVF is the fertilisation of a woman’s eggs outside her body in a laboratory, resulting in what has been termed a test tube baby.
The first fertility centre to be established in Zimbabwe in the 1980s is at the Avenues Clinic in Harare and more than 50 people, some of them now adults were conceived there.
The Harare clinic closed its doors in 2004 and re-opened last year.
The Bulawayo Assisted Reproductive Technology (BART) centre opened its doors last December and has brought hope to couples who are struggling to have children.
Previously, they would have had to go to Harare, South Africa or other countries for services.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa last week toured the new facility, which is housed at the Medical Centre in the city centre.
Dr Parirenyatwa was accompanied by a group of doctors from various provinces and officials from different hospitals.
He commended the gynaecologist in charge of the institution, Dr Jephat Moyo, for establishing the fertility clinic, saying the institution was long overdue.
“This is a good development for this region considering that we had only one such facility in the country. I’m proud of what Dr Moyo has done and I’m certain that it will go a long way in satisfying a need for people who are having problems with conceiving.
“I’m impressed with the modern equipment that was installed at the clinic. This shows that our doctors are innovative and are concerned about the needs of our people. People of Bulawayo and Matabeleland region can now come here instead of travelling all the way to Harare or South Africa,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
He urged people in Matabeleland region to take advantage of the IVF centre.
Dr Moyo said the facility has attended to a number of people since its inception and recorded reasonable success.
“We established the unit to address an important need in society. The BART centre will be able to address infertility problems among couples. Infertility is a problem that affects 20 percent of couples worldwide.
“The costs of the service are at par with the fertility centres in South Africa and other countries. It’s therefore an advantage for local people because there are no travel and accommodation costs involved,” said Dr Moyo.
The first baby in the world to be conceived through in vitro fertilisation, Louise Brown, was born in 1978 in Manchester in the United Kingdom. As a world first, there was a lot of publicity around the birth. The second successful test tube baby birth occurred 67 days later in India.