Clinic relaunches test tube baby programme

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HARARE – Avenues Clinic has re-introduced the test tube baby programme to help couples failing to conceive naturally.

The test tube baby procedure, also known as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), was stopped in 2000 after its pioneer in Zimbabwe, Tony Robertson, left the country.

Now Robertson has relaunched the programme, which in the two decades it was in place helped conceive 52 people who are now adults.

The Avenues Clinic managing director Merissa Kambani said: “There are so many couples desperate for a child but unable to have one that in vitro fertilisation could assist.

“The success of the programme carried out at The Avenues Clinic in the 1980s and ’90s shows that we have the expertise and facilities locally to conduct a successful IVF programme.”

The IVF team is made up of Tinovimba Mhlanga and Robertson, both of whom are specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists; medical laboratory scientists Tinei Makurumure and Robertson’s wife, who are the embryologists, and Florence Marechera, a nursing sister who is the programme’s counsellor and coordinator.

In addition to IVF, members of the team will also offer other fertility treatments that include intra-uterine insemination (IUI), commonly referred to as artificial insemination.

Robertson said there had been advances in the procedure and he was taking on other doctors who had learnt the new procedures.

“While I am able to offer some guidance from my previous experience, I am also learning from Dr Mhlanga, who is well versed in the latest procedures,” said Robertson.

Mhlanga said the procedure would give reprieve to couples stigmatised by society for failing to have children.

“We have the capacity to offer interventions to sub-fertile couples at an affordable price with the convenience of it being done here in Zimbabwe,” Mhlanga said.

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