At a time when the procedure was barely known in the country, Hannatu’s parents who had been married for thirteen years without a child, decided to try IVF at the Nisa Premier Hospital in Abuja under the supervision of Dr. Ibrahim Wada. The result was Hannatu, who remains the only child from their 30-year union.
“It is very difficult to make a statement on a day like this. When I was out of this country, I knew there were people who wanted babies. I made the decision to come back to Nigeria to help people. It happened on the 11th of February 1998 when this historic event occurred at this hospital,” said Dr. Wada at a send-forth event for Hannatu before she leaves for school. “The baby of that historic day is going to become a doctor. Because the parents stood firm, we were able to help others. You gave us government recognition and that was important. It was the first time that a federal minister came to receive a baby in Nigeria. I want to assure you (Hannatu), when you graduate, there is an automatic employment when you finish your medical school in Europe.”
Hannatu was visibly happy at the event and said she loved the fact that her own birth helped break misconceptions which people had in Nigeria about IVF. She said her desire to “save the lives of other children” informed her choice of medicine as her preferred course of study.
“I am very grateful to be sent off like this. It is not everybody that gets this opportunity. God has a big hand in this. God was behind me. I want God to use me get more children. I am hoping that through me God will make people see the value of having children. I will specialize in genealogy and obstetrics,” she said.
Her parents were proud. Hosea Kupchi, her father, explained how his sister-in-law introduced them to Dr. Wada almost two decades ago. He said that even after Hannatu was born, “challenges came again on how to let the world know that we have achieved this feat locally here in Nigeria. There are a lot of couples out there that are not ready to speak out. One, there is issue of stigmatisation, but I said to myself that nobody lights the candle and put it under the bed.”
Hannatu’s mother was grateful to God and the doctors. She said that couples with the challenge of infertility should not “die in silence”, but should seek help as “infertility is not a bus stop.”