By Favour Alilu
Few weeks ago, the news came as though someone was trying to pull a fast one. It was just unthinkable, difficult to believe, and even hard to conceive. But as it turned out, it was truth. An Indian woman, Erammatti Magayamma, 73, gave birth to two bouncing baby girls!
To put in perspective, medical science puts the average age of menopause at 51. Ideally, majority of women globally stop having periods between ages 45 to 55. But here is a woman, old enough to be a great-grandmother, gray hair, wrinkles in the face, at 73 giving birth to twins.
Magayamma, a farmer has been married to her 80-year-old husband, E. Raja Rao for 57 years. And in those years, they have waited, in vain for the fruit of the womb. But like the Biblical Sarah, when they may have given up hope, a ‘miracle’ happened – a medical miracle – and the wait was finally over.
Mama Magayammais was said to have conceived through In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) at Ahalya In Vitro Fertilisation Nursing Home. But even so, doctors say they are wowed given her age.
“The birth is a “very astounding one… a medical breakthrough,” noted Dr Femi Ajigbolamu. But the birth, however strange, is medically explainable.
“It is strongly possible,” said Dr Akinsola Akinde of Living Spring hospital Ejigbo. “The woman had in vitro fertilization with eggs from a donor. In actual fact, with science and technology no woman should be barren.”
Pastors, however, insist it’s a display of God’s mighty power. According to Pastor Uchola of Foursquare Gospel Church, it’s Biblically possible for a woman to give birth at any age, He made mention of Sarah in the book of Genesis 17, Sarah was believed to be infertile.
“She didn’t have a child until she was 99 and to think of the fact that her husband was very fertile made issues more difficult for her because the Bible made us understand that he had a child with Sarah’s slave girl Hagar before Sarah was able to conceive.”
Going further, Uchola mentioned the case of Hannah who couldn’t conceive for many years and sought the help of God by spending time with him daily, she was able to give birth to a son who would later become a mighty prophet in the nation of Isreal.
Speaking on the same issue, Minister James of Believers’ Banquet Christain Centre praised the effort of medical science in improving life.
He applauded, particularly the various herbal and medicinal efforts to solve the problem of infertility.
“Medicine is limited to the abilities of the supernatural and it’s absolutely supernatural for a woman to give birth at old age without any medical effort”.
“Now I’m not saying, visiting medical centres to conceive is bad, it’s even very good to seek medical advice to determine the exact cause of the delay, but that shouldn’t be any Believers’ hope. Before visiting the doctor, you have to believe God first, Know what his word says about your fruitfulness and believe it wholeheartedly, then go to the doctor for a checkup. Keep praising God for your fruitfulness, don’t complain in your heart and do you homework.”
Minister James noted that God is a creatively fertile God and out of his creativity he was able to make the world with his words.
He reteriated that it’s not just a myth to believe that God can do anything, it’s an actual reality. He also referenced Sarah in the bible, Abraham’s wife. For years, Sarah couldn’t conceive but by the word of God through the angels that visited Sarah’s house , she believed and she conceived.
Attempts to get comments from Fertilisation Nursing Home has not yielded results at the time of writing. But to better understanding the medical magic at play here, Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a bio-technological process of transferring the semen of a donor to combine with a female’s egg in order to achieve conception without the natural process of sexual intercourse between a male and female.
It is an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) which involves the extraction of eggs , retrieval of a sperm sample, combination of the sperm and egg in the laboratory dish and treatment of the element till it gets to its embryo stage before it’s transferred to the womb of the woman. IVF can be done in three different ways including Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) and Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT).
It can be used to treat cases of infertility with patients with decreased sperm count/sperm mortality, women whose fallopian tubes have been blocked, damaged and removed, Couples with genetic disorders, Couples with mysterious cases of infertility and women with other cases like endometriosis.
IVF started as a procedure for treating infertility that produced what were then known as “test-tube babies.” One of such babies that came of this procedure is Louise Brown, born in England in 1978.
Fertility is a central health issue especially in sub-saharan Africa as we they are believed to have a high fertile rate, Experts says the fertility rate of Nigeria is 5.8. It is therefore important for attention to be focused on spread of fertility messages across the country.
The Indian woman saw a ray of hope in the spread of the IVF centre’s messages although she was quite elderly for the IVF treatment. Times reports shows that her community neighbours, specialists and friends tried to discourage her from opting for IVF because of her age, but according to her she was determined to take whatever that will come out of it.
Due to the terrain of Africa, Believe in God’s power has been the prescribed solution for infertility in the continent, Osun (Yoruba goddess) is believed to be the goddess of infertility in the traditional African medicine parlance of Western Nigeria.