Oladapo A. Ashiuru, Latef A. Akinola

Correspondence: Prof. Oladapo Ashiru.  Medical ART Center, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja. Email: denrele@uic.edu.


“Modern Anatomy” includes molecular biology which encompasses molecular embryology and genetics. Molecular biology is, indeed, rapidly gaining prominence in Human Anatomy departments. In the field of assisted reproduction, worldwide success rates culminating in live births from in – vitro fertilization are rapidly increasing. The role played by anatomists to this  solution to the contemporary problem of infertility in Sub-Saharan Africa remains unclear. The article outlines the progress of in - vitro fertilization in Nigeria to illustrate the emerging roles of the 21st Century Anatomist. In Nigeria, during 1980s, there were only a few dedicated fertility centres, located in teaching hospitals. Most of them had no human sperm or gamete banks. Research work and full in vitro fertilization work started in Lagos University Teaching Hospital in 1983, culminating in the birth of the first in vitro fertilization baby in Nigeria and Sub Saharan Africa in 1984. Subsequently, the demand for in vitro fertilization services increased exponentially. The local sperm and embryo cryopreservation programme was hence initiated at Department of Anatomy, Lagos University. These revealed that freezing in ultra-low electrical freeze before storage in liquid nitrogen produces a significantly better post – thaw mortality after 4 weeks storage. In conclusion, the advent of assisted reproductive technology created a definite role for Anatomists and especially embryologists in the field of assisted conception. This implies that the 21st Century Anatomist has a huge potential role in applying molecular anatomy and other related fields hitherto not in the domain of morphology.

Key words: In Vitro Fertilization, Anatomist, Nigeria

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