In her lifetime Ibidunni Olajumoke Ituah-Ighodalo established Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation (IIF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), in 2016 as an initiative founded to support waiting for couples, especially concerning easing the financial burden that comes with pursuing fertility treatments that could give them a chance at fulfilling their dreams of parenthood. Over the years, this foundation has helped many couples’ dreams become a reality by giving couples in waiting the chance to become parents through assisted reproduction, In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and other fertility treatments. However, upon the demise Project 40at40 was born following her wish to give 40 couples, 40 IVF grants on her 40th birthday, a tradition that has continued with her husband, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo championing the cause to ensure that his late wife’s dream is fulfilled. In this chat with ipledge2nigeria at the ElizabethR office in Ikoyi Lagos Pastor Ituah-Ighodalo talks about the journey, so far, the foundation’s new projects, and other related issues.
How many people would the foundation provide fertility treatment for in this cycle?
By the time we review our financials, we will decide on what our capacity is. Our sought-after per year is about a hundred million naira plus overhead. Sometimes it can get to as much as 120 million. The cost of IVF is determined by the hospitals that partner with us, they may have some kind of marginal increase. Many other causes lead to an increase. The cost of reagents, and the cost of medication but we negotiate and plead with them. They will be increased within but it won’t be so grievous to us. So the whole budget is large anyway. If we are not able to 40 this time we will do as much as we can this season. The idea is to keep the project going. And we are appealing to the general public to help achieve the dreams of our founder and others come true.
So this is a big appeal to everyone who believes in the reproductiveness of people and who wants to support people to have their children and come and support us to help other people. Because of the dream of our founder who herself wasn’t able to conceive naturally, therefore made up her mind before her departure that as many families she can help to conceive naturally she would.
And it was in the mist, of trying to help forty couples that she had to leave this earthly plane. We have taken up the project and ensured that dreams come to pass.”
What is the process involved?
Fertility treatment or the other to help them along the way. The third and the most significant is to help them through I’ve interim of going through that process of helping them to have their children through the I’ve and it is pretty expensive, it cost an average of two million naira per session depending on the complexities thereof and so we have to raise a lot of money to make these dreams come true. Previously we tried to do at least 40 couples yearly.
However, the foundation, in collaboration with renowned fertility medical partners has administered IVF treatments to 80 recipients since its inception. Beneficiaries of the first and second cycle have resulted in 10 babies thus far with many others currently undergoing their gestation period.
Sharing some of the success stories Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, said “we are glad to announce that for the maiden cycle in 2020, we had nine new births, including a set of triplets. For the year 2021, we have a baby already, nine pregnancies while four are still undergoing treatment’’. For him, being able to help people, support them, and give them hope was the driving force of the initiative.
The year 2021 project is still ongoing as we speak, we had our first baby by Mr. and Mrs. Oyenuga and we have about 9 pregnancies and four that are still in progress they are still undergoing treatment.
It means that about 24 were not successful. Experts say the success rate is between 20/25%
We are not discouraged. Being able to help, and support these people gives us a lot of comfort and encouragement.”
What other projects does the foundation embark on?
We also visit newborn babies twice a year, first of January of each year, as was the custom of our founder, to encourage the mothers, especially those who are indigent or challenged financially to buy baby things for the baby and to help them in some cases pay their hospital bills. Because some of them especially those in government hospitals might not be allowed to go home until they have paid their hospital bills. And deal with any other issues that we find on the ground on that day.
More recently between her day of demise which is the 14 of June and the day of birth which is the 19th of July we also held another round of hospital visitations. It is something we want to do quarterly. We also do the baby’s day out twice a year.
It is a party for expectant mothers, and nursing mothers who have just delivered recently. We feed them and also provide for things they may need for the care of their children. We held one successfully a few weeks ago.
In the last year, we have done quite a few things. We have visited six hospitals, the military hospital in Yaba, and the very hospital in Yaba. We have had our baby’s day out. Held at the ocean crest school.
We started this year the Ibidunni life store it is meant to serve three purposes. We get our good wishes, who have clothes they haven’t worn in their wardrobe.”
“We help them decongest their lives, and their wardrobe and tell them to give us these items. Some give free some you have to have to pay a token. What we do is that we refresh them and those who normally could not have to afford them at a very discounted price. We use it to raise money for the foundation as well.”
What future projects are in the offing?
Our dream is to start a mother and child center a hospital with maybe 50 or 100-bed capacity to look after the affairs of mothers and their children which our founder was very much on.
To help women who have challenges in life, women who have been thrown out of the street, and those who are unable to help themselves.
The third thing that we are starting is the Ibidunni entrepreneurship network. it was an idea sold to us by an IT company and they said we should start a platform to give opportunities to young people in the name of Ibidunni digital learning for young people, to inspire and equip and help them. it is like a business school. What we then did was pay full tuition for about five million naira in her name. For indigent LBS students for this year to encourage her name. We now have an entrepreneurship prize every year at the LBS for an outstanding business student.
We are doing our best to keep her legacies alive. The network will start in a couple of months. We are hoping also that it will be revenue-generating over the long run to help fulfill some of these dreams that she had.