Fertiloity specialist Dr Monikaa Chawla says fasting can improve the sperm count in male patients with infertility issues Image Credit: Illustrative Purpose

Dubai: An international fertility clinic in Dubai is offering a unique programme for married couples seeking to start a family to sign up and go home with their baby or claim a refund of up to 100 per cent in case of failure, a spokesperson of the clinic said on Wednesday.

Bourn Hall, the international fertility clinic credited with giving the world Louise Brown, the world’s first test tube baby, has come up with this unique ‘take a baby home or-your-money-back’ option.

Consenting couples who meet all the fertility criteria can take this option and choose different price packages. Those opting for a 50 per cent refund get a price package of Dh68,000, those opting for 70 per cent refund pay Dh72,000 while those opting for a 100 per cent refund pay Dh78,000. If a couple is unable to experience the birth of a baby after three In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) cycles, they have the option to walk out with their money refunded.

Infertility treatment is among the top seven popular services in Dubai’s medical tourism package as nearly 30 per cent of Dubai couples suffer from infertility issues. Stress has been found to be one of the major factors as cortisol levels in the blood cause infertility. Other factors such as polycystic ovaries, male infertility and genetic issues arising out of consanguinity are attributed as causes. A World Health Organisation report on the UAE points out that in 2015 about 6,000 IVF cycles were conducted here and it is estimated that by 2025, about 9,200 IVF cycles will be carried out. So one can imagine the financial drain it will result in for infertile couples.

Ameen Neghabat, Group CEO for Bourn Hall International, explained, “Through the IVF Shared Risk Programme, we are able to divide the potential financial risk between the patient and the clinic, so this maximises their chances of success while minimising their financial risk. Infertile couples who don’t have access to medical insurance coverage for fertility services can now have a viable option for IVF. Normally three episodic cycles will cost Dh90,000 and the patient loses the entire amount paid if each cycle fails. However, through this programme, you save a significant amount of up to 25 per cent for three cycles, and the best part is we are refunding up to 100 per cent if the patient does not take home a baby by the end of their third cycle.”

Dr David Robertson, Group Medical Director of Bourn Hall Centre, added that usually a third of patients in the programme experienced a live birth within the first IVF cycle. “Our aggregate success rate is about 41 per cent. However, in three cycles, the success rate jumps to 80 per cent.”

He added that to be eligible for the refund programme, the woman had to sign up before her 39th birthday and fulfil other clinical criteria for which she had to undergo tests.

The programme went live four weeks ago and already six couples from various nationalities — Indian, Pakistani and Filipino — have signed up for it, said Neghbat.

The clinic has entered into an agreement with a bank to provide a 12-month interest-free loan to consenting couples looking for a viable financing option.