Most women, especially those from Africa believe a woman is fully fulfilled in her marriage when she can have children. It becomes burdensome on the couple to have to deal with pressure from family and society when they are unable to conceive with the first two years of marriage. After 24 years of marriage, a 64-year-old Ugandan woman has given birth and her joy cannot be contained.
Safinah Namukwaya and her husband Badru Walusimbi, residents of Nunda Village in Lwabenge Sub County, Kalungu District, Uganda got married in 1996. All they ever wanted was to have at least one child but that did not happen till now, over two decades later.
The 64-year-old mother tried having babies in her first marriage (1973-1987) with another man, but she had an ectopic pregnancy where the baby developed outside the main cavity of the uterus and it did not survive.
Hitting the menopausal stage for any woman drastically reduces the chances of conceiving and Namukwaya soon realized her chances of being a mother was narrower when she hit menopause at age 45.
After a medical examination at the Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre in Bukoto, Kampala in March 2019, the then 63-year-old Namukwaya heard some good news. Dr Edward Tamale Ssali, the director of the hospital realized that she can conceive despite her advanced age after some examinations, Daily Monitor reported.
True to his words, some months down the line, Namukwaya gave birth to a girl last Thursday, June 25, at the Masaka Regional Referral Hospital.
Speaking to local news outlets on Sunday, Dr Ssali said after his examinations, he realized that Namukwaya had blocked tubes. He then suggested an In -Vitro Fertilization (IVF), a scientific procedure where ovaries (eggs) are fertilized with the sperm in a test tube in the laboratory.
“What we did is that her egg cells were fertilised outside her body and when the embryos formed, we put them back into her womb,” Dr Ssali said. “She was lucky that her first attempt resulted in a successful pregnancy because some women make several attempts and fail,” he added.
She could not afford the procedure which cost a little over $140,000 (Shs 15m), Namukwaya came up with about $37,500 (Shs 4m) and the hospital bore the rest of the cost.
According to Dr Ssali, any woman who is below the age of 70 years and has a strong immunity system can be assisted scientifically to conceive using her husband’s sperms and sometimes a donor egg.
Ms Namukwaya becomes the 25th woman in Uganda who is past 50 years to conceive through IVF.
“Age is just a number. Using IVF technology, any woman can still have a baby so long as her immunity is not suppressed by diseases like HIV/Aids,” he said.