Dr Ali Hellani, PGD lab director, Fakih Fertility Centre, Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Fertility clinics in the UAE will soon be able to offer a comprehensive pre-marital test covering about 300 genetic disorders. The tests were limited to only a few disorders earlier.

“The new test will be a boon not only to couples who are planning on getting married, but also to married couples who have a family history of children born with genetic disorders,” Dr Ali Hellani, PGD lab director, Fakih Fertility Centre, Dubai, told XPRESS.

“Once the new test is available, we will be able to rule out risks for over 300 genetic disorders. There’s a high incidence of children being born with neuro-muscular disorders and metabolic disorders in the UAE,” said the doctor, adding that the centre is awaiting the ministry’s approval.

The centre provides a wide variety of reproduction treatments as well as in-vitro-related procedures and more.

“Currently we handle about 200 tests a month but once the approval comes we are expecting about 5,000 cases a month,” said Dr Hellani.

According to Dr Karunakar Marikinti, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology at the centre, it is mostly couples with a history of genetic disorders in the family who are particularly worried and want to undergo the test.

“Some couples even come to us for advice after reading or hearing about such disorders from others.”

New centre

Meanwhile, the UAE is set to have its first genome testing laboratory. “This is the first genome testing laboratory in the country. Couples will benefit from this because the tests will be done here itself. Earlier, such tests could not be done here because samples have limited life and could not be sent abroad, now they can be tested here,” said Dr Ashok Rattan, COO and medical director of Star Metropolis Clinical Laboratories, part of the Arabian Healthcare Group, which is setting up the new lab. “We will be able to develop treatments for patients according to the uniqueness of their genes.”