Please introduce yourself
I am Toyin Lolu-Ogunmade, a Human Resources Specialist by training with over 2 decades of experience cutting across several sectors including energy, finance, health care, manufacturing & logistics. I am Founder and CEO Precious Conceptions. Precious Conceptions is Nigeria’s foremost holistic Family Building Consultancy and we provide services in these areas : Fertility advisory, specialist referrals, wellness, legal, fertility counselling, fertility education, ovum donor and gestational surrogacy management.
What inspired you to start precious conceptions?
Precious Conceptions started out of my painful experience with post fibroid surgery complications. I got married in 1999 and was shortly diagnosed with multiple fibroids. The Dr said they were not disturbing conception so my husband and I kept trying to conceive. It didn’t happen. All the while, I had pains and severe bleeding from the fibroids and after managing these for 7 years, decided to have them removed surgically.
After the surgery, I had I just kept having issues and had to go back to the hospital several times. Still, I couldn’t conceive. In 2009, we decided to see fertility specialists and tests revealed severe scarring in my womb, as a result of the fibroid surgery I had.
I went through 3 more surgeries back to back in an attempt to repair the scarring but these were futile. The diagnosis was severe Asherman’s syndrome (adhesions) and I would never be able to get pregnant. Devastating is an understatement.
My only hope of ever having a biological child was gestational surrogacy.
I struggled with this, and went to India for further treatment and help. I had the 3rd surgery in India and it was also certified I would never be able to get pregnant. So , I embraced surrogacy and went through 3 IVF surrogacy cycles. We were successful at the 3rd attempt. Our sojourn in India took 2 full years and I became a mom to twins in 2012, the 13th year of my marriage.
Whilst going through Surrogacy, even before we became successful, I decided I would open up a learning platform where I would educate intending parents on the very many options available for them to choose from, and to offer support to those who are on the journey to parenthood. I also decided I would speak out, and help break the myths, misconceptions and stigma surrounding infertility.
So whilst still in the hospital in India, I trained as fertility counselor. This gave me a solid background and leverage for the work I wanted to do. I had hours of extensive classes and practical exposure to all areas of infertility management.
How has the journey been so far?
Hmm. Its been slow and steady. I have had to constantly educate the public and intending parents on infertility and the solutions available. As of today, we have 35 babies on record, born to clients we have either directly managed, or counselled , or have benefited from our learning platforms. Our oldest baby is almost 7 years old, and the youngest a few months old. Some of these were born through surrogacy and we managed the process end to end.
I have also written a soon to be released book- Mom At Last- My 13 year journey. The book captures my experience and is also a tool to help intending parents on their journey to parenthood. It is filled with counsel, insights, examples, processes and encouragement needed to win the battle.
How easy is it in Lagos? Getting the women and community at large to embrace surrogacy?
Funny enough, gestational surrogacy has been in existence for over a decade in Nigeria because I was told this was the only solution available for my situation, as far back as 2009. But, it is shrouded in mystery and regarded as taboo by society. People who have gone through surrogacy don’t want to talk about it. So, coming out publicly about my experience threw a lot of light on the subject. I have granted several interviews locally and globally and constantly educating the public on what it entails and its benefits. I had an Indian surrogate mother and my babies look exactly like me. This further corroborates the fact that a gestational surrogate is just a carrier, and does not have any contributory DNA material in the pregnancy.
Getting surrogate mothers is a lot easier than before, because the world has become a global village because of social media and the internet, and people read up international stories at a glace on their phones.
The surrogates I match our clients with, and those wait listed are well educated, up to university level. I have computer science graduates, dentist, teachers to mention a few. The least educated ones have secondary school education and are fully committed to the process
What changes does one have to make in preparation for this surrogacy process?
It is a battle won first in the mind. So you have to be mentally prepared for the journey. How prepared you are makes the journey either a memorable ride, or a roller coaster. You go through emotional landmarks because you are going to become parents without you getting pregnant directly. So it is more of a mental preparation as well as financial prioritization, as a lot of money is involved.
With counselling and adequate planning, the journey becomes easier.
Are there any myths or misconceptions to surrogacy?
Yes there are several and I shall explain
1. Gestational surrogacy (where the surrogate mother isn’t the genetic mother) is not baby factory. It is a legally contracted process, which bypasses sexual intercourse and the guided by global standards and practices.
2. The gestational surrogate does not contribute any DNA matter at all to the pregnancy. So the baby born through surrogacy does not take any genetic material from her
3. Babies born through surrogacy are normal and healthy. They are just like other babies.
4. Surrogacy isn’t adultery. There is no sexual intercourse involved in any manner.
5. Bonding with your surrogate – delivered baby is easy. Once your baby is placed in your arm, bonding time begins! You don’t have to get pregnant to bond.
There is a 30 mins exploratory session, how can we explore this?
The free 30 minutes exploratory session ends on July 22, 2019 and you activate it by contacting 07088080339, requesting for an appointment. We will then take it further.
Can we contact you for more information or consultation?
Definitely! Our office is in Oregun Ikeja and we work on appointment basis. Once you call the number provided or send an email to [email protected], you are sure of an appointment either face to face, or online.