A Hygeia HMO and Access Bank partnership is offering financing to families looking to explore in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) alternatives to childbearing with a catch. A 30% cash back on failed procedures.
IVF involves the external fertilization of egg with sperm (either from the intending parents or donors) and the implantation of a formed embryo in the uterus of the natural or surrogate mother. The procedure also involves additional techniques to increase chances of pregnancy from hyperstimulating the ovaries to generate multiple eggs to culturing the fertilised egg for some time before reinsertion into the woman’s body.
Because of cultural, religious and cost implications, IVF adoption in Nigeria and many parts of Africa is not very high. For one, certain denominations view technology innovation around child bearing as usurping the divine order of life. And there is an inordinate emphasis on women conceiving and birthing their babies naturally as a mark of authentic womanhood. Even a simple cesarean section can be looked upon with some stigma in this part of the world.
On average, 22% of IVF procedures are successful but age and other factors including quality of donor egg or sperm can strongly influence success rates.
Hygeia HMO launched HyMama, its IVF health bundle, in 2018.
In partnership with Access Bank, women who belong to the bank’s W Community can receive financing of up to ₦1.5 million for a cycle of IVF treatment (or ₦4 million for a three cycle procedure). The HMO works with five fertility centers in the country namely: Lifelink Fertility Clinic, Nordica Fertility Centre, Medical ART Center, Lily-Paelon Memorial, Georges Memorial Medical Center.
If a procedure fails under the one-cycle plan, patients receive a 30% cashback into their account.
Women who seek help outside the country can also receive the dollar equivalent (US$3,900) of the financing which is repaid over a 24 month period at an annual rate of 14%.
The financing covers post-investigation, drugs, donor eggs and sperm cells if required. Pre-investigation cost, usually about ₦250,000 – ₦300,000 is covered by the patient. These preliminary tests usually determine what IVF modalities are better suited per individual.
While women in Access Bank’s W Community are eligible to apply, to reduce barriers to entry, spouses are also welcome to apply on behalf of their partners. The bank accesses eligibility based on income earnings. For salary earners, monthly income must not be less than ₦100,000 while for business owners whose businesses have been legally registered for at least a year prior, account statements are vetted to verify eligibility.
Africa is still slowly innovating to specifically address women’s health and reproductive needs and more avenues that address financing for these technologies, whether private or government led, will greatly determine how widespread their adoption becomes in the coming years.