Smile and Smile with IVF Technology in our hands in sickle cell traits pregnancies

The Second Distinguished Lecture presented at the Institute of Genetic Chemistry & Laboratory Medicine, Bodija, Ibadan


Oladapo Ashiru




The history of ART dates back to 1963 when Yanagimachi and Chang reported in-vitro fertilization of hamster eggs and thereafter Yanagimachi reported in vitro capacitation of hamster spermatozoa in follicular fluid [1, 2]. Capacitation, a term used to describe hyper-activated motility of the sperm, is required for fertilization to take place. Following this, in 1977, Andrew Schally and Roger Guillemin were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for their work in the isolation of LHRH from the hypothalamus [3].


FIGURE 1 Roger Guilleman and Andrew V Schally

In 1978, Ashiru and Blake also reported FSH positive feedback mechanism on the pituitary [4, 5]. These and many others have been the bedrock for the achievement of the first live birth via in vitro fertilization (IVF), Louis Brown, popularly called the first ‘test-tube’ baby in 1978, after a failed attempt that resulted in ectopic pregnancy in 1976. 6 This ground breaking success was achieved by Steptoe and Edwards in Oldham, England and Robert Edwards was subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology in 2010.


FIGURE 2 Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards 1978.

Other countries reported their successes, Australia by Carl Woods in 1980 [7], USA by Howard & Georgeanna Jones in 1981 [8] and Nigeria by Oladapo Ashiru, Osato Giwa-Osagie in 1984 and the delivery of a baby through IVF in 1989. [9-17]


FIGURE 3 O. F. Giwa-Osagie, R. Edwards and O. A. Ashiru, November 1992



IVF means fertilization achieved outside of the body. It involves ovulation induction, oocyte retrieval, sperm preparation, oocyte stripping, insemination followed by fertilization in a culture dish and finally embryo transfer. Oocyte retrieval and embryo transfer processes are usually done under ultra-sound guidance. Also, it is important to know that gamete handling is usually done under strict temperature control. Without the development of IVF, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) would not have been possible.


FIGURE 4. Illustration of Steps involved in IVF


PGD as the name implies involves testing for specific genetic defects in the DNA code prior to embryo implantation. Usually, there is targeted testing of a known genetic abnormality in the couple.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is diagnosis of a genetic condition prior to achievement of a pregnancy. PGD was first performed in the early 1990’s as a way for couples to prevent the pregnancy of a child with a genetic disease. Currently at Medical Art Center, we are able to offer PGD testing for genetic conditions including sickle cell anaemia and chromosome aneuploidies. We work in collaboration with Genesis Genetics, a world renowned genetics institute. They pioneered PGD testing of embryos for inherited genetic abnormalities.


For more information, contact IGCLM