The House of Representatives on Wednesday called on the Ministry of Health and its agencies to include and prioritise fertility treatment in the national reproduction health policies.
The House, therefore, urged the Federal Government to subsidise the cost of infertility treatment generally for childless couples of Nigeria origin to make it more accessible.
It further urged the Federal Government to establish fertility centres and equip same with state-of-the-art facilities in at least one federal institution in each of the six geopolitical zones.
The call followed a motion by Rep. Anayo Edwin (APGA-Ebonyi), which was unanimously adopted by the House members through a voice vote.
Moving the motion, Edwin said infertility was the inability of desiring couples to achieve pregnancy after one year of regular unprotected sex without any known reproductive pathology.
According to him, marriages and procreation are intertwined in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general, adding that child bearing is highly valued in all communities indigenous in Africa.
“In African culture, the true meaning of marriage is fulfilled if couples conceived and bear children.
“This is because Africans sees children as a major source of power and insurance for parents in their old age’’.
According to Edwin, Nigerian accounts for about 30 per cent of the estimated 70 million married couples suffering from infertility globally.
This, he said, was the reason over 60 per cent of gynaecology clinic consultation in Nigeria were fertility related.
Edwin said it was unfortunate that in spite of medical causes of infertility, women were usually blamed and suffers personal grief, frustration, depression, social stigma, ostracism and economic deprivation.
The lawmaker added that fertility was a major cause of divorce and marital disharmony, adding that majority of married women faced infertility challenge in the country.
He further added that because of infertility, most married women in the country lived in continuous fear of abandonment, domestic violence and divorce by their husbands.
Edwin said it was regrettable that some couples with infertility challenges, who could not afford modern reproductive techniques after series of failed traditional and spiritual treatments, resort to engage in sex with multiple partners.
“This is regardless of its attendant risks, just to prove their fertility and thereby creating a more difficult challenge to public health in Nigeria”. (NAN)