On Becoming the First IVF Baby in the Philippines

It was one normal evening on the 9th day of October, year 1997 when everything started. Yes, my life has begun. As normal as it seems. As ordinary as anything may get. Well, this is not the beginning of an accustomed set-up for anyone who was just given the privilege of living. I am the first. I am the change. I am one in a million.

Let me introduce myself – I am Geanne Samia, the first IVF baby in the Philippines. If you may ask what does IVF or in-vitro fertilization means, it is literally the union of a sperm and an egg outside the human body. I was born through an IVF procedure and was incubated in a CO2 incubator of the 1990’s.

The process is not as simple as it sounds. It is a very sensitive procedure and requires optimal conditions to attain a successful pregnancy. I have heard that there are updated and more modernized IVF equipment nowadays. The Miri® Benchtop Multi-room incubator and the Semi Closed Environment workstation (SCE) are just some. These machines do the job very well in maintaining such delicate conditions.

Initially, the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) – a medical treatment for IVF, is administered in higher levels for the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. After which, the eggs are obtained before ovulation whereas the sperm samples are acquired through masturbation. The identified eggs are stripped of surrounding cells and prepared for fertilization in a petri dish. There are two techniques to conduct IVF – one is through the incubation of eggs with thousands of sperm cells while the other is by the utilization of a needle to place a single sperm inside the egg. The latter was the procedure that was done for my mother to be able to conceive since my father had a decreased sperm count and this IVF method maximized the certainty of fertilization. In this early stage of the whole process, my parents already had a glimpse of me through the Miri®Time-lapse incubator where it captured my embryonic form with an interval of 5 minutes. Hence, rest assured that they did not miss any important aspect of my development. After fertilization, my embryonic form was transferred to my mom’s ureter through a catheter.

Although I was incubated in a CO2 incubator, I wish the Miri® was already invented during the period I was born because unlike the usual CO2 incubator, it has the following FABulous features:

Faster recovery. With its gas recovery of less than 3 minutes and its temperature recovery of less than a minute, it is ensured that the total gas consumption rate would be significantly lower.

Accurate quality control. It has two temperature sensors for every chamber, hence, the temperature stability is guaranteed. Moreover, the individual compartments contains a separate PT 1000 sensor for the continuous gas and temperature monitoring to assure that the environment mimics that of a mother’s fallopian tube.

Bye-bye pathogens. The built-in HEPA-VOC filtration system, as well as the UV light, eliminated unwanted particles that may alter the optimal incubation environment for the growing embryo.

I am currently 20 years old and I am nothing but happy of who I have become. Everything seems normal – how I go through my day-to-day activities, how I was raised by my parents, and how I was successfully delivered and brought to life through IVF. However, I consider myself very special because I am a product of not just my mother’s egg and my father’s sperm, but also of the brilliant minds of the people who made this assisted reproduction technique possible. For me, being the Philippines’ first ‘test-tube baby’ is the Renaissance of the 21st Century. It provides a way for us to plan the future better without being scared of the setbacks of the present time. I, myself have been a living proof of this miracle.

If ever, in the future that I or my partner would have to face infertility problems or struggle to get pregnant, I would also resort to IVF without hesitations because with help from the top of the line innovations present in Miri®, I am confident that my future is secured – and that life will begin again through Esco Medical.