Aster IVF & Women Clinic report uncovers reasons behind rising infertility rate in the UAE

Alisha Moopen, executive director and CEO of Hospitals & Clinics, GCC, at Aster DM Healthcare

An Aster IVF & Women Clinic study, conducted by Aster DM Healthcare, attributes the higher Infertility rate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to a shifting demographic trend of late marriages and a sedentary lifestyle.

The research study, published during the inauguration of the Aster IVF & Women Clinic in Dubai, said 1 in 5 couples in the UAE face fertility issues. In Dubai alone, the study said, the incidence of infertile women seeking treatment per year could nearly double from 5,975 in 2015 to 9,139 by 2030.

 “As per the study, population growth in the region, fairly dominated by expatriates, has an implication on the growing Infertility rates,” Alisha Moopen, executive director and CEO of Hospitals & Clinics, GCC, at Aster DM Healthcare, told Gulf News Journal. “Late marriages also play a pivotal role in the difficulties of conception. Other risk factors like sedentary lifestyles causing obesity, high incidences of endometriosis and (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) in women, and high level of diabetes in the region are likely to increase infertility rates in the coming years.”

The study was based on in-depth analysis of international medical research, macroeconomic trends and expert comments using various journals, publications, data and statistics on IVF (in vitro fertilization) and population in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region with the primary focus on Dubai.

According to government health statistics, approximately 25 percent of adults in the UAE have diabetes and a similar percent of the population is prediabetic. Diabetes causes a rise in insulin levels, harming egg production and causing infertility. And in a survey released by Zurich International Life, 47.5 percent of UAE residents were overweight. Smoking in both men and women is another cause of infertility in the country. Natural conception is twice as difficult for women who smoke, and it lowers sperm counts in men and reduces the success rates of fertility treatments.

“In the UAE, many women delay family building due to educational, career or economic considerations,” Moopen said. “To control infertility in women, we suggest having children between the ages of 20 and 34 as the rate of infertility increases and the likelihood of getting pregnant decreases drastically with age.”

Currently, she said, a good percentage of GCC couples seeking excellent fertility services are traveling abroad, mainly to Jordan, Beirut and Germany. It is very likely that a portion of these would like to use facilities near to their homes rather than traveling far to seek affordable and quality health care services.

“At the Aster IVF and Women Clinic, we believe in creating long-lasting and supportive relationships between our patients and practitioners, offering them the best treatments in the region,” Moopen said. “The clinic is set to be a space in which couples and families experience empathetic medical care, an approach that makes our patients feel supported.”

Aster IVF & Women Clinic was launched with the vision of Dr. Azad Moopen, chairman of Aster DM Healthcare, one of leading health care providers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The clinic is in Al Mankhool in Bur Dubai, where the Aster DM Healthcare journey began in 1987.

“Led by internationally recognized specialists with several years of experience in the field of fertility treatments, Aster IVF and Women Clinic promises to provide a holistic approach with a broad spectrum of care that women need during their different phases of life,” Moopen said.

One of the highlights of the clinic is the IVF Lite treatment, which helps couples get pregnant with minimal risks, higher success rate and lower costs. IVF Lite treatment uses pills instead of conventional hormonal injections, making it a convenient and comfortable option over conventional IVF treatment. Along with the provision of treatment for infertility cases, the clinic is also promoting egg banking as a fertility restoring measure for married couples. This helps them avoid infertility altogether and lead a life at their own comfort without missing out on the experience of parenthood at the desired times.

“Infertility can be one of the most stressful situations couples encounter, often attributing to emotional, physical and financial distress,” Moopen said. “In light of this, we conducted the research study as a pursuit to look for gaps between the demand and supply of adequate expertise, and care available for infertility treatments in the UAE. We intend to fill that gap in the UAE market. Although, there are already established leaders in this field in the region, with our expertise and care-based approach, we aim to reach out to (the) maximum number of people having difficulty in conceiving.”

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