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Investing in the latest medical advances and employing highly skilled staff are essential to providing quality fertility treatments, says Dr Ahmad Fakih, Consultant Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility at Fakih IVF Fertility Center, in an interview with GN Focus.

Tell us about the origin and growth of Fakih IVF Fertility Center.

Fakih IVF Fertility Center is one of the leading infertility, gynaecology, obstetrics, genetics and IVF centres in the GCC. It opened the first private IVF centre in Dubai in 2011, followed by another in Abu Dhabi in 2013. In 2014, it expanded its services in the GCC by opening in Muscat, Oman. This year, Fakih IVF inaugurated its fourth branch in the UAE at Madinat Zayed - Western Region, expanding its regional market share further.

Fakih IVF Fertility Center started with the vision of Dr Michael Fakih, a consultant in reproductive endocrinology and IVF who began his career in 1987. Dr Fakih prides himself on his staff’s original and innovative approach to treating infertility cases. It has a fully serviced in-house genetics laboratory. At the centre, each couple is assessed and a treatment plan is designed specifically for them. It continually strives to improve medical protocols and invests in the newest technologies to excel in its commitment to help families grow and ultimately achieve the highest success rates.

What are the main fertility treatments you provide?

Fakih IVF provides the most comprehensive range of male and female infertility treatments available, including in-vitro fertilisation-intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF-ICSI), intrauterine insemination (IUI), genetic testing for chromosomal abnormalities and genetic diseases, fertility preservation, family balancing, gender selection and more.

What are the latest technologies that you use?

Modern technology and medical advances continue to give couples facing infertility a greater chance of success in fulfilling their dreams of parenthood. At Fakih IVF, we believe that investing in the latest medical advancement and employing highly skilled staff are essential to providing quality healthcare service. Our embryologists are highly skilled and equipped with the latest technologies available, including:

EmbryoScope: It’s a new and revolutionary incubator with a built-in camera that takes periodical pictures of embryos as they grow. Previously, embryos were monitored once at fertilisation and again on the day of embryo transfer, leaving out important details on the growth pattern of the embryo.

Assisted hatching: To successfully implant into the uterine lining, an embryo has to hatch out of its own shell, called the zona pellucida, and attach to the endometrial lining. Embryos with a thin shell have a higher rate of implantation because they can more easily shed their shell. Fakih IVF’s Embryology Labs are equipped with precision lasers designed to assist the hatching of embryos before transfer.

Blastocyst transfer: After egg collection, sperm and egg fertilise for three-to-five days in a special culture medium. During this time, embryologists monitor the growth of each embryo to assess its viability. The strongest and most viable embryos will continue to grow through day 5 to form a blastocyst.

Intracytoplasmic morphologically-selected sperm injection (IMSI): IMSI is a new IVF technology that enables the embryologist to magnify sperm up to 6,000 times versus the standard magnification of 400 and select the sperm with the best morphology.

What do you consider your main achievements?

With about 65 per cent success rate in women under 40 years, Fakih IVF is responsible for more than 25,000 deliveries and has served over 250,000 patients in the UAE. It was the first in the UAE to achieve an ongoing pregnancy for a single gene disorder and HLA matching for a leukaemia sibling looking for a bone marrow donor. The facility was the first in the UAE to perform a MicroTESE, a procedure where sperm is extracted micro-surgically.

With about 65 per cent success rate in women under 40 years, Fakih IVF is responsible for more than 25,000 deliveries and has served over 250,000 patients in the UAE.

- Dr Ahmad Fakih, Consultant Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility at Fakih IVF Fertility Center

In collaboration with international partners Fakih IVF has introduced new ART techniques such as OvaPrime, Augment and round spermatid injection (ROSI) in the UAE. It introduced the first EmbryoScope in the UAE and the Middle East and in 2016 became the first IVF centre in the region to be ISO 9001 certified. Fakih IVF in Abu Dhabi is the only centre in the Middle East to be equipped with two fully functional embryology labs.