Bridget Mananavire 26 May 2017
HARARE – The Avenues Clinic has become the first hospital in the country
to deliver a test tube baby in almost two decades after re-introducing In
Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) programme last year.
IVF is a process in which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body
and the fertilised egg is later implanted into a woman’s uterus.
The baby boy was born at 29 weeks on April 2, weighing just over a
The woman who benefitted from IVF expressed her joy over becoming a
The baby is, however, still in hospital as it needs to gain 20 more
grammes, which he will likely have gained in the coming week.
IVF was stopped at the hospital in 2000 after its pioneer in the country
Tony Robertson left the country.
“My husband and I had been trying to have a baby since we got married in
2012 without success,” the mother who preferred to remain anonymous said.
“I had tried everything, including herbal medicines, to get pregnant.
However, I had ovarian cysts and blocked Fallopian tubes. It seemed IVF
was the only answer.
“I phoned the Avenues Clinic to enquire about this and was given Dr
(Tinovimba) Mhlanga’s phone number. After saving bit by bit for the
procedure, I was put on the IVF programme.
“I had to inject myself to stimulate the ovaries, which was tough, but it
worked out well. A scan showed there were six follicles. I went to the
Avenues Clinic for the egg retrieval.
“After a few days, I was told all my eggs had fertilised in the IVF
Laboratory at the Avenues Clinic. The doctors transferred three embryos
into my womb. The other three were frozen.
“After 10 days, I had a blood test and it came out positive. I was so
excited. I had tried so many things – both traditional and modern – but
none of them had worked.
“I was also receiving pressure from my family to conceive so you can
imagine how I felt when my pregnancy test came back positive. I was hoping
for three babies from the three embryos.”
Mhlanga a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist praised his team for
the work which he said required good coordination.
“Sister Florence Marechera is the backbone of the programme. She organises
everything. The counsellors do an excellent job in counselling patients,
which is an important role as undergoing IVF can be traumatic,” Mhlanga
Before its disruption, the programme had helped conceive 52 people who are
The IVF team is made up of Mhlanga and Robertson, both of whom are
specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists; medical laboratory scientists
Tinei Makurumure and Robertson’s wife, who are the embryologists, and
Marechera, a nursing sister who is the programme’s counsellor and